How to become an advanced nurse practitioner in the UK

Friday, January 12, 2024

Whether you're a recent nursing graduate or a seasoned practitioner, this article will outline everything you need to know about how to become an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) in the UK.

ANPs play a crucial role in delivering high-quality patient care and driving innovation within healthcare. You have more responsibilities than a traditional nurse including clinical responsibilities, decision-making and leadership opportunities. This means you are well-positioned to provide patient care and support the increasing demand on the workforce.

If you're a registered nurse in the UK with a passion for expanding your skills and taking on greater responsibilities, becoming an ANP could be the next step in your career. Learn more about what an advanced nurse practitioner is here, how to become one and a typical day in the life of an ANP. Within the blog, we’ve covered:

What’s the difference between an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) and an advanced clinical practitioner (ACP)?

The term ACP does not apply to a specific role but is a catch-all term for practitioners across the NHS who have progressed to an advanced level. ANP is specific to nurses who are educated at masters level in clinical practice and have been assessed as competent in practice using their expert clinical knowledge and skills.

What qualifications are needed to become an ANP?

An advanced nurse practitioner has the highest role in clinical nursing with additional demands, responsibilities, and autonomous clinical duties. The required knowledge, skills and experience can be demonstrated through education, qualifications, leadership and learning competencies. The six main requirements to become an ANP in the UK include: 

  1. Having an active registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  2. 2-3 years of clinical experience
  3. Having an MSc nursing degree (or be working towards one)
  4. Being an independent prescriber
  5. Producing a competencies portfolio
  6. Proving competence in advanced practice

If there is a particular Integrated Care Board (ICB) or Primary Care Practice that you want to work for it would be worth checking if they have any specific requirements, courses, or modules that you would need to complete. 

What band is an ANP?

Advanced nurse practitioner roles are typically graded Band 7 with progression to Band 8a upon completing a master's degree, depending on the role and function. At this advanced level, an ANP’s role starts to align with the responsibilities you might associate with a doctor.

How much do advanced nurse practitioners earn?

Band 7 salaries are calculated based on years of experience. From April 2023, the annual salaries are as follows:

Band 7

 

<2 years’ experience

£43,742

2-5 years

£45,996

5+ years

£50,056

Following on completion of a master’s degree and other courses, you will progress through band 8a up to band 8c where salaries increase in increments based on years of experience from £50,952 up to £81,138.

What duties and responsibilities does an ANP have?

Advanced nurse practitioners have key responsibilities across clinical practice, communication, delivering a quality service, leadership, teamwork, management of risk, managing information, learning and development and equality and diversity.

Some of the responsibilities of an ANP that you might typically associate with a doctor include:

  • Assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing, and evaluating treatment/interventions and care for patients presenting with an undifferentiated diagnosis
  • Clinically examining and assessing patient needs from a physiological and psychological perspective and planning clinical care accordingly
  • Prescribing and reviewing medication for therapeutic effectiveness, appropriate to patient needs and in accordance with evidence-based practice and national and practice protocols, and within the scope of practice
  • Producing accurate and complete records of patient consultation, consistent with legislation, policies, and procedures

For the full advanced nurse practitioner role and responsibilities, view the Health Education England (HEE) job template herePlease note, if you click this link a word document will download from the HEE website. 

Can advanced nurse practitioners prescribe?

ANPs can independently prescribe appropriate medication provided they have completed an Independent Prescribing qualification.

A day in the life of an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP)

Now we’ve covered the experience, education, and requirements to work as an advanced nurse practitioner in the UK, we’re going to look at a typical day at work for an ANP working in a GP surgery.

Morning (8 am - 11 am)

Your workday begins at around 8 am and can include reviewing patient cases who contacted out of hours and arranging any follows ups required. Shortly after your morning clinic will begin where you will have patient appointments that last around 10 minutes each. Morning patients are often those who have requested a same day appointment.

This would typically cover acute illnesses to help patients access medical advice quickly and easily. ANPs can advise and prescribe for patients dealing with a wide range of conditions including sore throats, coughs, colds, skin problems, headaches, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and more. An ANP cannot review pregnant patients, children under 1, and conditions under ongoing GP review.

Lunch (11 am - 2 pm)

Once your morning clinic ends, you will call through telephone patients who have a clinical or medication query that the reception team can’t answer. You will clear any admin which includes lab results, clinical letters, emails, prescriptions, and referrals to secondary care. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team means it’s time to grab some lunch and catch up with your colleagues, which may include practice nurses, HCA colleagues and GPs.

Afternoon (2 pm - 5 pm)

The afternoon tends to be more varied and might include nursing home visits, patient home visits, annual patient reviews, professional meetings, training new employees, mentoring colleagues, and afternoon clinics.

A typical day at work for an ANP will differ depending on the GP practice, time of shift and the variety of settings you could be working in including walk-in-centres, urgent care, or treatment centre and out-of-hours services.

 

ANP opportunities with GP World

GP World is a leading network of primary care professionals in the UK. Whether you're looking for your first nursing job or the next step in your career, we have permanent and locum roles available within the primary care and permanent healthcare sector.

We pride ourselves on being expert solutions partners across the breadth of primary care, we’re confident we can help take your career to the next level. 

Browse our live job roles or register with us today to speak to one of our team.