Regulation of advanced nurse practice: its existence and regulatory dimensions from an international perspective

J Nurs Manag. 2016 Jan;24(1):105-14. doi: 10.1111/jonm.12278. Epub 2015 Jan 7.


Aim: To explore the regulation of advanced nurse practice internationally and to identify differences and commonalities.

Background: Regulation of advanced practice nursing does not occur in many countries. Ireland is currently in the minority in regulating advanced practice at a national level.

Key issues: Lack of regulation poses difficulties for national governments and for society due to uncertainty in advanced practice concept and role.

Methods: A literature review of 510 scholarly nursing papers published in CINAHL, PubMed and MEDLINE between 2002 and 2013 and 30 websites was undertaken.

Results: There is a lack of consistency in legislative systems internationally. Nursing organisations have recognised advanced nurse practice by regulation in some countries and by voluntary certification in others.

Conclusions: Research has demonstrated that care delivered by advanced nurse practitioners has enhanced patient outcomes yet regulation of advanced practice is not undertaken in most countries.

Implications for nurse manager: Nurse managers need to know that criteria for the regulation of advanced practice are in place and reflect the minimum requirements for safe practice.

Keywords: advanced nurse practice; certification; licensing; professional bodies; regulation; regulatory systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Practice Nursing / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Certification / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Certification / methods
  • Humans
  • Internationality / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Registries*