How do I become an advanced nurse practitioner?

04 October 2021 By Michael Bowyer

​If you feel like you’re ready to take the next step in your healthcare career and become an Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP), then you’re clearly great at what you do and are looking for more autonomy in your role. Becoming an ANP is a great opportunity to use your medical knowledge and experience to make clinical assessments, diagnoses, and offer treatment independently or in conjunction with other healthcare professionals.

Working in a range of medical contexts, ANPs bridge the gap between doctors and nurses and have a wide range of responsibilities. From leading nursing teams to developing the available healthcare services at their place of work, the remit of an ANP is incredibly varied and rewarding.

We have put together a guide on the qualifications needed to become an ANP, the skills that will help you excel, as well as a list of responsibilities so you can not only consider whether the role is right for you but can start planning the next steps to success!

Qualifications needed to become an advanced nurse practitioner

To become an ANP you must already be a registered nurse and have a good level of experience under your belt. Once you’ve made the decision to take your nursing profession further, you can then choose to enroll on a postgraduate training course by meeting the following criteria:

  • Have an active registration with the NMC

  • Completed a masters

  • Be an independent prescriber

  • Meet NMC revalidation requirements

  • Be able to demonstrate advanced nursing practice

If you have a particular healthcare organisation in mind that you’d like to work for, it’s recommended that you get in touch with them prior to choosing which course you complete as they may have their own specific criteria that they’d like you to meet or have preferred training that they look for. Both BSc and MSc options are available, though the former lasts around a year whereas the latter can take close to three years. Depending on your lifestyle and what suits you, you have the flexibility to choose whether you complete your training on a full or part-time basis.

What band is an ANP?

Newly-qualified nurses are at band 5, nursing specialist or senior nurses are at band 6, and ANPs are paid at band 7 as they will have acquired a master’s degree or equivalent and importantly, their tasks and responsibilities are at a higher level. In fact, at this advanced level, an ANP’s role starts to align with the roles and responsibilities you might normally associate with a doctor.

Advanced practice determines the level of practice a nursing professional works at, rather than a specific role, though you can progress to this level within a more detailed specialism. For example, preparing patients for surgery to assist the surgical team, though this advanced level does require a lot of extra study and many years’ experience.

Advanced nurse practitioner roles and responsibilities

Advanced nurse practitioners are required to work independently but also as part of a team in making decisions based on patient assessment, diagnosis, and interpretation of test results. They are also able to independently prescribe medication, evaluate or refer their patients to a specialist if necessary, and undertake clinical nursing practice at an advanced level to deliver holistic care to their patients. Other examples of typical roles and responsibilities include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Directly admitting patients to secondary care hospital in acute medical need

  • Utilising therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy when working with patients with mental health conditions

  • Clinically examining and assessing patients from a psychological and physiological perspective and planning clinical care accordingly

  • Working with patients to support compliance with and adherence to prescribed treatments

  • Prioritising health problems and intervening appropriately to assist patients in complex or emergency situations, including initiation of effective emergency care

  • Supporting patients with adopting healthy lifestyles and promoting self-care

  • Acting as a positive role model and participating in clinical supervision

  • Mentoring junior nurses and assessing their competence against set standards

There is no doubt that the nature of the role is complex and fulfilling and if you decide to take the leap and become an advanced nurse practitioner, you can rest-assured that no day will ever be the same!

When it comes to looking for your next nursing opportunity, we’ve got you covered. We can ensure you are always able to provide the best care possible by sourcing short and long-term assignments, out of hours, or back-to-back roles.

We offer full diary management and get to know you, your skills, and your long-term career goals so we can find assignments to suit you. Our specialist consultants are always on hand to help you with onboarding and compliance support.

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