Advanced Nurse Practitioner – A Day In The Life

Advanced nurse practitioners are just one group of unsung heroes amongst many at the NHS, and yet so many people are unaware of the work they do or the opportunities that such a role can offer. The role of an advanced nurse practitioner is constantly developing and changing to meet the ever-growing needs of our health service. For a number of reasons, pressure on the NHS nowadays is always increasing: the overall population is getting older; there has been a rise in long-term conditions and the costs of health care are rising.

When the role was first introduced during the 1990s, the aim was to be able to provide a professional level of service whilst working around the working restrictions of junior doctors. Since then the role has developed, in line with patient feedback to deliver more of a nurse-led practice.


The ANP Role

An Advanced Nurse Practitioner is there to help take some of the pressure off doctors and nurses. With a growing shortage of GPs in the UK, the role of the advanced nurse practitioner is becoming increasingly important.

Just like all nurses, the advanced nurse practitioner is very highly trained. However their knowledge and skills are more advanced, as the title of the role implies. The biggest difference between nurses and advanced practitioners is that as an ANP, you are trained to undertake assessments of patients in a way that would usually be reserved for a doctor, being able to both interpret your findings and provide a diagnosis. In addition, ANPs are able to advise on and prescribe medication.

In some instances, an ANP working at a GP surgery, for instance, would be able to stand in place of a doctor when needed. As an ANP, the limits of your practice are discussed and defined by your employer, but legally speaking there is little difference between what an ANP can do and what a doctor can do. The difference usually lies solely in the complexity of the cases with which an ANP can work.


The Value of Advanced Practice

Since an advanced practitioner is able to provide a service almost equal to that of a doctor, they do not need to refer patients in order to acquire a diagnosis from which to work, or to prescribe medicines. As such, a GP surgery which is able to employ ANPs is likely to be able to deal with more patients in a shorter space of time, while still giving them the best level of care. Across the UK, GP services have been slowing due to a lack of GPs, but ANPs can ensure that service standards are maintained or, even better, improved.


Becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner

Advanced Nurse Practitioners tend to be staff nurses with a good level of post-registration experience, often educated to Masters level, specifically with an MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice. The MSc is essential, but is most often done on a part-time basis in conjunction with continued work. Experience is key, and so in order to complete the Independent Prescribing Qualification a nurse must have at least 3 years clinical practice.

The advice given to a nurse looking to advance their role is to find out and experience as much about advanced nursing as possible beforehand, preferably by shadowing an Advanced Practitioner and familiarising themselves with the role. The high-value status of ANPs is such that in many cases, the NHS will offer traineeships in order for nurses to progress into the role of advanced practitioner.

Here at East Berkshire Primary Care Out of Hours Service, we’re always looking for experienced ANPs to help us deliver our out of hours services to our patients. You can apply for this job here, or for more information, contact us on 03000 243 333 or email us at