The issue of professional regulation of advanced nursing practice is one of the most controversial in the area of nursing regulation today. The controversy affects the roles and scope of advanced practice as well as education requirements. Nurse practitioner (NP) practice is one kind of advanced nursing practice receiving attention currently, with a view to developing consistent educational and regulatory approaches. Consistency is needed to enhance the mobility and flexibility of these important healthcare provider resources in time of shortages. This paper describes how the regulatory body in British Columbia decided to register only three categories of NP: family/all ages, adult and pediatrics. It describes the state of NP regulation when the work began, the consultation process used in coming to this decision and the principles underlying the decision. Regulators, educators and administrators may benefit from understanding the issues and reasoning presented. Literature to guide this work was lacking, a gap this paper addresses to help inform decision-making in other settings and contexts. Dialogue about this approach may facilitate movement towards consistent approaches to the regulation, education and deployment of NPs in Canada and elsewhere.
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