Introduction to Advanced Level Practice
On 17 November 2010, the Department of Health published its position statement on advanced level practice. The position statement was developed in conjunction with the Department of Health’s partners such as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), UNISON, Skills for Health, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), NHS Employers, and the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety. The position statement is intended to be used as a benchmark to enhance patient safety and the delivery of high quality care by supporting local governance, assisting in good employment practices and encouraging consistency in use of titles. Although the position statement has been developed primarily for nursing the Department of Health indicates that ‘it may have relevance to midwifery, health visiting and allied health professions’ (DoH, 2010:1). The Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dame Christine Beasley, indicated in the forward of the position statement that ‘The health and social care landscape has changed dramatically over the years and new roles have emerged to respond to the complex and wide-ranging needs of people, families and communities’ (DoH, 2010:2). Therefore it is evident that the changing healthcare system means the necessity for adapting on the part of healthcare professionals. Yet although the health professions have been and are adapting their practice, it can be presumed that they are remaining true to their core values (DoH, 2010). With this perspective in mind it is timely to clarify what advanced level practice is and its implications for further role development.