Advanced Practice Nurses: Networking in the International Arena

Barbara Sheer, DNSc, FNP-C, FAANP


April 17, 2007

In This Article

An International Movement for Advanced Practice Nursing

In September 2006, nurse practitioners (NPs) in the United Kingdom met in Harrogate to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first NP practice in the United Kingdom. As we look back on their success, the collaboration of the United States and United Kingdom was the beginning of an international movement of advanced practice.

NPs in the United States learned very early in their development that there was strength in numbers and challenges to practice could be met by sharing expertise. To facilitate sharing information, local, regional, state, and national organizations dedicated to nurse practitioners were formed.

In 1992 when the Royal College of Nursing in London graduated its first class of NPs, the United States collaborated with the United Kingdom on the first international NP conference in London. The purpose of the conference was to support the fledgling movement and highlight the nurse practitioner movement as a global entity.

Development of the Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network

The yearly conferences in the United Kingdom attracted representatives from other nations. Many countries expressed interest in additional information on the role of development and education. As global interest spread, the Royal College of Nursing in Australia offered to host the conference to support their movement into the world of recognized advanced practice.

With additional countries becoming involved, there was a need to expand beyond the boundaries of the yearly conferences and become a resource and a global presence for networking and sharing expertise. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) became involved and in 2000 the ICN-Nurse Practitioner/ Advanced Practice Nursing Network was launched in San Diego, CA. In 2000, there were no models for networks in the ICN structure, so nurse practitioners were in the forefront of venturing into new ways to communicate with each other.

The Network was established to as an international resource for nurses, policymakers, educator, regulators, and healthcare planners. Membership is currently free and is available at the ICN Network Web site. Expert members have the opportunity to participate in the Network Resource Bank.


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