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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Advanced nursing practice (ANP)

Advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) play a key role in developing and sustaining the capacity and capability of the health and care workforce of the future.

What we do

Support the education, training and development of ANPs to the level of experienced and highly educated registered nurses, able to completely manage a person's care, not focused on any one condition.

What is advanced practice

Advanced practice is a level of practice, rather than a type or specialty of practice. It has four pillars:

  • clinical practice
  • leadership
  • facilitation of learning
  • evidence, research and development

ANPs are educated to master’s level and are assessed as competent in advanced level practice.

As a clinical leader, they have the freedom and authority to act and accept the responsibility and accountability for those actions.

This level of practice is characterised by autonomous decision making that includes assessment, diagnosis, and treatment including prescribing, for people with complex multi-dimensional needs.

Decisions are made using high level expert, knowledge and skills with the authority to refer, admit and discharge within appropriate clinical areas.

Working as part of the multidisciplinary team ANPs can work in or across all clinical settings, dependent on their area of expertise.

The full role definition, education requirements and core competencies of an ANP is described in the Transforming Nursing, Midwifery and Health Professions’ (NMaHP) Roles, Paper 2 Advanced Practice

Advanced nursing practice - transforming nursing roles: phase two:- Follow-up paper to the Transforming Roles paper on Advanced Nursing Practice (ANP) published in December 2017. 


We were commissioned by the Chief Nursing Officer Directorate (CNOD) at the Scottish Government to allocate funding to support education for an additional 500 ANPs over 4 years between 2017 and 2021. 

This funding is for education to complete postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Advanced Practice to prepare for an ANP post which is additional to workforce plans.

ANP leads within NHS Boards and Independent employers request funding directly from NES for nurses who have already met the criteria for the additional 500 ANPs and are completing the ANP pathway. No further funding is available for new ANP trainees.

University course information for Advanced Practice is available on University websites.

Advanced practice toolkit

The advanced practice toolkit is a repository for learning resources relating to Advanced Practice.

Although initially focused on advanced nursing practice, the content will have relevance to other advanced practice roles.

The toolkit supports ongoing developments to enhance understanding of this dynamic role across the four Pillars of clinical practice, research, education and leadership. 


Transforming nursing, midwifery and health professions’ (NMaHP) roles, paper 2 advanced practice

The advanced practice toolkit

Advanced nursing practice - transforming nursing roles: Phase two (April 2021)


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Last updated: 01/04/2021

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