Nurses working in advanced practice roles – the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and nurse practitioner (NP) – meet the complex health needs of Canadians in a wide variety of settings and contribute to the development of a sustainable, efficient and effective health system.
Two advanced practice nursing roles are recognized in Canada.
CNS: A CNS is registered nurse with advanced nursing knowledge and skills in making complex decisions who holds a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing with expertise in a clinical nursing specialty. The CNS is an agent of change who brings value to clients, practice settings and organizations to improve safety, promote positive health outcomes and reduce costs.
NP: An NP is a registered nurse with additional educational preparation and experience who possesses and demonstrates the competencies to autonomously diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe pharmaceuticals and perform specific procedures within their legislated scope of practice.
CNA advanced practice nursing resources
Advanced Practice Nursing: A Pan-Canadian Framework [PDF, 1.9 MB] (2019): This document promotes a common understanding among nurses, other health-care providers, employers, policy-makers and the public of advanced practice nursing in Canada and its contribution to health systems and the health of Canadians.
Clinical Nurse Specialist [PDF, 118.6 KB] (position statement)
The Nurse Practitioner [PDF, 136.1 KB] (position statement)
Uncover the Roles of Advanced Nursing Practice (Recording, PowerPoint [PDF, 908.4 KB])
Who is the Clinical Nurse Specialist? (Recording, PowerPoint [PDF, 1.1 MB])
Canadian Centre for Advanced Practice Nursing Research (CCAPNR)
CCAPNR is a leading research program dedicated to optimizing the role of registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice nurses (APNs) in Canada and internationally. CCAPNR supports evidence-based, innovative research that benefits nursing practice and the health of all Canadians.
CNA has collaborated with CCAPNR members on many projects. Among them are recommendations for a pan-Canadian primary care framework to advance the role of RNs and ANPs working in interprofessional teams. CCAPNR’s leadership continues to expand and clarify the role of all RNs and ANPs, enhancing their abilities and contributions to the health-care system.
International Council of Nurses policy brief on advanced practice nursing
International Advanced Practice Nursing
International Council of Nurses Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network