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Advanced practice as a ‘level’ of practice

In the past, 'advanced practitioner' posts have tended to be characterised principally by high-level clinical and technical competence. Central to the toolkit's 'benchmarking' approach is the idea that advanced practice is a 'level' of practice rather than a particular role. This takes into account the four pillars of practice:

  • Clinical practice
  • Leadership
  • Facilitation of learning
  • Evidence research and development

Details of the responsibilites entailed; key skills, knowledge and behaviours; and opportunities for development in each of these pillars is given in the Post Registration Career Development Framework.

Advanced practice is characterised in a range of underpinning principles:

  • autonomous practice
  • critical thinking
  • high levels of decision-making and problem-solving
  • values-based care
  • improving practice  (NES 2007)

This reflects the themes and the underpinning principles in the NHS Wales Advanced Practice Framework (2010), Department of Health Advanced Level Practice: A Position Statement (2010) and Northern Ireland Supporting Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care (2014)strengthening the case for benchmarking of this level of practice.