Advanced Practice Nursing in Belgium

Snapshot

APN Role Exists in Country Today:
Yes

Title:
Nurse Practitioner

Nationally Certified:
Yes

Recognize Foreign Licensure:
Uncertain

Treatment Authority:
No

Prescribing Authority:
No

Practice Autonomously:
No

Contact:
Federal Public Service of Belgium

Role

Belgium is divided into two sections, the North (Flemish) and South (French) sections.  Each functions differently.  The Flemish section has implemented an Advanced Nursing Practice role, the French has not (Sheer & Wong, 2008).  A curriculum for preparing Nurse Practitioners was proposed and awaiting approval as of 2008, but as of 2010 no official role had been established (Delamaire & Lafortune, 2010; Sheer & Wong, 2008).  While the roles of nursing specialties do not appear to include prescribing and diagnosing, they do allow for consultations and referrals to specialists, and ultimately model more of the Clinical Nurse Specialist role elsewhere (Delamaire & Lafortune, 2010; Sheer, 2007).

With the conflicting reports of the current roles, what is certain is that Belgium has had some form of Advanced Practice Nursing roles in two specific titles that have been identified by the Belgian Federal Public Service, namely Intensive and Emergency nurses and Geriatric nurses, and that advanced nursing education is provided in the country (Danish Nurses’ Organization, 2008; Stordeur & Leonard, 2010).  Further, it appears that Advanced Nursing Practice in Belgium is advancing, driven greatly by a health care system with disproportionate general practice and specialist care.  Because of the lack of individuals in certain specialties, there have been more recent pushes encouraging the advancement of nursing practice (Storedur & Leonard, 2010).

Education

Levels of education vary in Belgium.  However, to be a registered Nurse Practitioner of a specialty in Belgium, one needs to have been registered and usually be educated at the bachelors or masters level (Federal Public Service, 2013).

Specialties

For nursing specialists, individuals are able to specialize in intensive care, emergency care, geriatrics, pediatrics and neonatology, mental health and psychiatry, social health care, medical imaging, stomal therapy and wound care, community nursing, oncology, palliative care, anaesthetics, and operations assistant and in instrumentation (operating room) (Robinson & Griffiths, 2007).  The Advanced Practice Nursing roles are more limited in specialty and include the titles of intensive and emergency nursing, geriatric nursing, and transplant nursing (Robinson & Griffiths, 2007; Sheer & Wong, 2008).

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References:
Danish Nurses’ Organization (2008).  Advanced nurse practitioners: Improved health care to chronically ill.  Retrieved from: http://www.dsr.dk/Artikler/Documents/Advanced_Nurse_Practitioners.pdf

Delamaire, M. & Lafortune, G. (2010). Nurses in advanced roles: A description and evaluation of experiences in 12 developed countries.  OECD Health Working Papers, 54, OECD Publishing.http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kmbrcfms5g7-en

Federal Public Service (2013).  Nurse Practitioners.  Retrieved from: http://www.health.belgium.be/eportal/Healthcare/healthcareprofessions/Nursingpractitioners/

Sheer, B. (2007, April 17).  Advanced practice nurses: Networking in the international arena.  Medscape News Today.  Retrieved from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/554740

Sheer, B. & Wong, F.K.Y. (2008).  The development of advanced nursing practice globally.  Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 40(3),204-211.

Stordeur, S. & Leonard, C. (2010).  Challenges in physician supply planning: The case of Belgium.  Human Resources for Health, 8(28),1-11.  doi:10.1186/1478-4491-8-28

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