Advanced Practice Nursing in Denmark


APN Role Exists in Country Today:

Specialist Nurse

Nationally Certified:

Recognize Foreign Licensure:

Treatment Authority:

Prescribing Authority:

Practice Autonomously:

Danish Health and Medicines Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen)
Danish Nurses’ Organiation [DNO] (Dansk Sygeplejeråd)


The role of Advanced Practice Nurses in Denmark has been in development.  Common interests as a part of the European Union have led Denmark to explore the potential use of further Advanced Practice Nursing (Danish Nurses’ Organization, 2008; Pill, Kolbæk, Ottman, & Rasmussen, 2012).  This development however has not been perceived as a substitution for medical doctors (Pill et al., 2012).  Meanwhile, in Denmark there has been an abundance of nurses in the country, leading the European Union and amounting to more than 15 per 1,000 individuals in the population, and with a ration of 4 nurses for every doctor in country (OECD Library, 2012).

Several nursing specialties have been offered for direct practice registered nurses, anesthesia nursing, psychiatric nursing, intensive care nursing, and infection control nursing (European Commission [EC], 2000).  Each allows for more skillful knowledge and potential advanced scope of practice in their respective categories.  Additionally, three other specializations exist for nursing, nursing management and leadership, nursing education, and public health nursing (EC, 2000).  For all specialties except the public health nursing, there is no protected title provided by the national ministry of health (European Commission, 2000).  For public health nursing, the title “health visitor” has been reserved (EC, 2000).

Education and Certification

Education for entry level nursing in Denmark is at the Bachelor’s level.  Specialties are provided by and maintained at the county or regional level (EC, 2000).  Once received permissions by a specific region to practice as a specialty nurse, the Danish nurse may then practice within that specialty in any of the regions of the country, according to the regions’ regulations (EC, 2000).  Each of the programs vary in the length of their post-baccalaureate program as follows (with their received title/degree in parenthesis):

  • Anesthesia Nursing (Proof of specialty training) – 1 1/2 years
  • Psychiatry Nursing (Proof of specialty training) – 1 year
  • Infection Control Nursing (Proof of specialty training) – 3 months
  • Intensive Care Nursing (Proof of specialty training) – 1 1/2 years
  • Public Health Nursing (Nursing Diploma) – 10 months
  • Nursing Management and Leadership (Nursing Diploma) – 10 months
  • Nursing Education (Nursing Diploma) – 10 months

Masters level education is available for nurses interested in advancing their career particularly in nursing education, public health, and nursing management and leadership requiring 2 years and 6 months of training (Aarhus School of Advanced Nursing Studies, 2014; EC, 2000).

Foreign citizens are allowed to apply and participate in the Masters level studies provided they are able to pass a Danish proficiency exam and have received an acceptable Bachelors degree (UASANS, 2014).  Individuals interested in working within one of the specialized nursing categories would be required to be evaluated by the regional councils overseeing each (EC, 2000).  As an international working within Denmark, their specialty-specific permissions would then only be valid for the region from which they received permission (EC, 2000).


While an old reference, four areas of specialty have been identified: anesthesia nursing, intensive care nursing, psychiatric nursing, and infection control nursing (EC, 2000).  For each of the specialties in intensive care, anesthesia, and psychiatry training is organized at the county level and therefore varies within the country (EC, 2000).

Beyond that of direct practice nursing specialties, the other three nursing specialties of public health nursing, psychiatric nursing, and nursing management and leadership has been offered at the University of Aarhus School of Advanced Nursing Studies (UASANS, 2014).  This school also offers a Master’s Degree for advancement of a nursing career.  This degree is suggested to offer career advancement primarily related to the advancement of the latter three non-direct practice specialties (EC, 2000).  The course curriculum allows the student to adapt their education in whichever career path interests them the most (UASANS, 2014).

Have information to add to this page?

Danish Nurses’ Organization (2008).  Advanced nurse practitioners – Improved health care to the chronically ill [Electronic document].  Retrieved from:

European Commission (2000).  Nursing in Denmark [Electronic Document].  Retrieved from:

OECD Library (2012).  Health At A Glance: Europe 2012.  Retrieved from:

Pill, K., Kolbæk, R., Ottman, G., & Rasmussen, B. (2012).  The impact of the expanded nursing practice on professional identify in Denmark. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 26(6),329–335.

University of Aarhus School of Advanced Nursing Studies [UASANS] (2014).  Masters degree in nursing – Introduction.  Retrieved from:


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