Education of Advanced Practice Nurses in Canada
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In Canada, education programs for the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and nurse practitioner (NP) roles began 40 years ago. NP programs are offered in almost all provinces. Education for the CNS role has occurred through graduate nursing programs generically defined as providing preparation for advanced nursing practice. For this paper, we drew on pertinent sections of a scoping review of the literature and key informant interviews conducted for a decision support synthesis on advanced practice nursing to describe the following: (1) history of advanced practice nursing education in Canada, (2) current status of advanced practice nursing education in Canada, (3) curriculum issues, (4) interprofessional education, (5) resources for education and (6) continuing education. Although national frameworks defining advanced nursing practice and NP competencies provide some direction for education programs, Canada does not have countrywide standards of education for either the NP or CNS role. Inconsistency in the educational requirements for primary healthcare NPs continues to cause significant problems and interferes with inter-jurisdictional licensing portability. For both CNSs and NPs, there can be a mismatch between a generalized education and specialized practice. The value of interprofessional education in facilitating effective teamwork is emphasized. Recommendations for future directions for advanced practice nursing education are offered.
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