1. Newland, Jamesetta A. PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP

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Attending the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain, from May 27 to June 1 was invigorating. It was my first visit to Spain (the wine was exceptional), and it gave me the opportunity to engage in global nursing discussions with 8,100 attendees. My past assumptions about nursing were once again affirmed; nurses everywhere want the same thing, to provide the best quality care for their patients. Plenary and concurrent sessions as well as posters provided information on a variety of topics and activities, but we were all linked to the conference's theme of Nurses at the forefront transforming care.

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Several plenary speakers focused on an aspect of one or more of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Others presented innovative models of care within their country's healthcare system. Creating strategies to recruit, train, and retain an adequate and diverse healthcare workforce was a priority for many countries.


Lithuania: Introducing the NP role

The program was packed with sessions on research, practice, policy, patient safety, quality, special programs, and much more. Colleagues from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences and I presented a poster titled "Advanced Nursing Practice in Lithuania: Challenges in Curriculum, Practice, and Legislation." The poster provided a chance to share Lithuania's progress in introducing the role of the NP. Over 4 days, there were approximately 1,000 posters, but the conference venue and the planning team made it all workable.


Facing similar issues

The Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network (NP/APNN) is one of several special interest networks within the ICN. The conference's NP/APNN meeting focused on presentations covering the status of advanced practice nursing in several countries and the experiences of members in addressing issues and challenges. Regardless of the structure of the healthcare system, capacity of the educational system, or favorability of the political climate, the issues and challenges do not vary much by country.


The development of a new advanced practice role (usually the NP) or the expansion of current nursing roles to advanced nursing practice (ANP) typically met resistance. Sharing strategies to success was helpful for everyone.


The international approach to ANP

Throughout the year, the NP/APNN sends updates to members who have subscribed to their free service ( Springer is publishing an Advanced Practice in Nursing series. Two books, written under the auspices of the ICN, present the international approach to ANP with country-specific examples. Volume one is in an introduction to ANP, and volume two addresses strategic planning.1,2


We all sometimes use ANP and advanced practice [nursing] nurse (APN) interchangeably, but they have different meanings. ANP is a concept and encompasses the many functions in nursing, whereas APN describes the role usually designated to direct care: NP, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist.3


Learning from each other, I have been fortunate to have international experiences with the development and enhancement of the APN role in Botswana, Japan, and Lithuania. I share guidelines from the United States but always keep in mind ICN's definition of the APN, "... the characteristics of which are shaped by the context and/or country in which s/he is credentialed to practice..."4 There is a wealth of information to exchange with our international nursing colleagues. We can learn from each other and advance nursing together.


Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP

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1. Schober M. Introduction to Advanced Nursing Practice: An International Focus. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG; 2016. [Context Link]


2. Schober M. Strategic Planning for Advanced Nursing Practice. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG; 2016. [Context Link]


3. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The Doctor of Nursing Practice: Current Issues and Clarifying Recommendations. Report from the Task Force on the Implementation of the DNP. Washington, DC; 2015. [Context Link]


4. International Council of Nurses. Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse: Definition and Characteristics. Geneva, Switzerland: International Council of Nurses; 2009. [Context Link]