30 nurses and health professionals from across Latin and Central America gathered at McMaster for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage: Advanced Practice Nursing Summit, which took place from April 15-17.
The summit sparked discussions about broadening the scope of nursing practice in Primary Health Care (PHC) in the Americas to include the advanced practice nurse (APN), using Canada and the US as examples of countries in which the profession is well-recognized. While advanced practice nursing has an established regulatory framework in Canada and the US, there is little evidence of APN education, practice and regulation in Central and South American Countries.
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) defines the advanced practice nurse (APN) as a “registered nurse who has acquired the expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for expanded practice, the characteristics of which are shaped by the context and/or country in which s/he is credentialed to practice. A master’s degree is recommended for entry level.”
Feedback gathered from summit attendees has been very positive. One participant commented, “I really appreciate the focus on APN as they are an important group of health personnel that can move the agenda forward with regards to optimizing universal access to health/universal health coverage.” Another commented that the event was “incredibly well-facilitated,” with “exceptional participant engagement.”
McMaster University’s School of Nursing has been a PAHO/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in Health Human Resources and Primary Health Care since 1992. Dr. Andrea Baumann, Associate VP, Global Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, is Centre Director, and Dr. Ruta Valaitis, Associate Professor, Dorothy Hall Chair in Primary Health Care, is Deputy Director.