An advanced practice nurse is described as a nurse with a large amount of clinical knowledge usually to a post-graduate level, with a high amount of skill and experience and wide scope in the practice of nursing. Hamric’s values should not be viewed as knowledge to be used in patient management by themselves, but rather they should be used as a channel or means of administering healthcare to patients. The advanced practice nurse should thus be able to utilize the vast amount of skill and experience and use it in patient management, while adhering to the core values with no problem. When used in this way, the patient is able to benefit from the advance practice nurse’s skill and knowledge in an environment that promotes his/her recovery. Integration of the core values into the advance nurse’s practice would provide the optimum conditions for patients’ recovery or management. The two are relatively different disciplines, and therefore their integration would not result in any friction. This would become easier with practice just as with any other discipline in healthcare (Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2006).
Advanced practice could be defined as a level of nursing that utilizes a vast amount of accumulated skill and knowledge. It also makes use of acquired experience in the assessment, management and evaluation of care required in the management of a patient. The level of education is usually postgraduate. An advanced practice nurse could either be a specialist or a generalist at this level. The nurse has a very high degree of skills in interpersonal relationships, especially patient-nurse relationships, and obtains optimal outcomes through critical analysis. The nurse’s decision making is evidence-based. He is thus capable of engaging in a greater and increasingly complex decision making drawing from the integration of knowledge and experience. On the other hand, specialization is defined as when a person focuses on one area of study, in order to gain more skill and knowledge in the field. Specialization reflects on depth of knowledge in the field of study, this form of study is directed towards a defined population, phenomenon or activity (National Nursing Organizations, 2004). The amount of skill that is obtained in that particular field of study is thus more than that which was obtained from basic nursing education. From this it can be observed that advanced practice mainly focuses on the experience and skills aspect of nursing that is gathered over a period of time in the practice of nursing. Specialization, on the other hand, mainly focuses on the knowledge aspect of nursing that is acquired from in depth study. Specialization results in a relatively inflexible career that though knowledgeable, is limited to the respective fields of specialization. Advanced practice, on the other hand, is very flexible, as the advanced practice nurse is capable of handling numerous situations resulting from the large amount of experience gathered in the field (International Council of Nurses, 1992).