Nursing (NURS) 614

Foundations of Advanced Practice Nursing (Revision 4)


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Delivery Mode: Paced/home-study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: NURS 000 *for MN NP and PMD NP students only

Precluded Course: NURS 520

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies


NURS 614 Foundations of Advanced Practice Nursing will examine the advanced practice nursing (APN) roles of NP and CNS. Topics such as the education and regulation of APNs and the competencies required in each of these roles will be addressed including collaboration, leadership and inter-professional practice. Community development and primary health care principles will serve as a framework to explore these advanced practice nursing roles in the Canadian health care context.

Course Goals

At the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Examine characteristics and competencies of advanced practice nurses, including clinical nurse specialist, and nurse practitioners.
  2. Analyze theoretical and research underpinnings of advanced nursing roles.
  3. Explore principles of community health development (connective processes, collaboration, empowerment, advocacy, and organizational actions), primary health care (accessibility, participation, collaboration, health promotion, appropriate technology) and determinants of health.
  4. Discuss components of APN roles, including expert guidance and coaching, consultation, clinical and professional leadership collaboration, ethical decision-making, advocacy, and change.
  5. Describe how the concepts of culturally-safe care can be applied to advanced nursing practice.
  6. Identify moral and ethical issues that impact advanced nursing practice.
  7. Develop strategies to integrate the concepts of continuing competence and life-long learning in advanced practice nursing roles.
  8. Explore concepts related to interprofessional practice as they apply to advanced nursing practice.

Course Materials


Staples, E., Ray, S. L., Hannon, R. A. (2016). Canadian perspectives on advanced practice nursing. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press.

Vollman. A. R., Anderson, E. T., McFarlane, J. (2016). Canadian community as partner: Theory and multidisciplinary practice (4th ed). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.

Course Structure

NURS 614 is an asynchronous online course. Students are expected to connect to an Internet Service Provider at their own expense.

Technical Requirements

In order to successfully complete this course, you must own or have ready access to certain computer hardware and software programs. For complete and up-to-date information on the minimum computer requirements required to complete the graduate nursing courses, visit the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies technical site.

Course Outline

NURS 614 consists of 13 weeks grouped into seven units.

Unit 1: Defining Advanced Practice Nursing
Unit one defines advanced practice nursing and introduces the roles included under the APN umbrella including clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner. Students will examine the history of these roles in Canada and the world.

Unit 2: Examining Advanced Practice Nursing Roles
Unit two examines the education and regulations of APNs in Canada. The roles of various federal and provincial government and professional bodies in regulating and influencing APN practice will be explored. Students will examine the economics of APN roles in the context of the Canadian Health Care System including various funding and practice models and will gain an understanding of how advanced practice nursing roles are evaluated.

Unit 3: Models of Advanced Practice Nursing
This unit examines the organizing frameworks that can applied to the development, implementation and evaluation of advanced practice nursing roles. Personal evaluation of competence and planning for one’s personal role development is also addressed.

Unit 4: Core Competencies of the APN Role
In Unit 4, students explore the core competences of advanced practice roles including clinical practice, coaching and teaching, consultation, research, leadership, collaboration and ethical decision making.

Unit 5: Interprofessional Practice
In Unit 5, students will study the concept of interprofessional practice from the APN perspective. You will examine essential competencies such as defining foundations, role clarification, effective communication and conflict engagement skills.

Unit 6: Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety in Health Care Decision Making
Unit 6 focuses on the influence of culture on health care decisions. Because clients in primary care come from a variety of cultural, religious and economic backgrounds, this unit explores ways in which these factors might play a role in health and health care choices.

Unit 7: Community Development and Primary Health Care Principle
The principles of community health development and primary health care form foundational threads that are woven through the nurse practitioner program. These principles are introduced in this unit as students explore health promotion through multi-sectorial engagement in community health development initiatives.

Assessment Structure

The assessment structure for NURS 614 is based on the following course activities, with the percentage weighting of each activity as indicated. Your final grade for the course will be a composite mark based on your performance on these course activities. Please read this ENTIRE section

Assessment Item Percentage of Total Grade
Conference Participation and Required Postings 10%
Assignment 1 - Advanced Nursing Practice Role Paper 30%
Assignment 2 - Community Implications Paper 30%
Assignment 3 - Determinants of Health 30%
Total 100%

In order to pass NURS 614, you must achieve a minimum mark of 65% on conference participation and a minimum combined mark of 65% on the three written assignments.

If the minimum mark is not achieved on either element of the assessment structure (conference participation or written assignments), then a failing grade will be assigned for NURS 614.

Conference Participation (10%)

Feedback regarding conference participation will be ongoing. Quality of input (not quantity) is the goal. Feedback will focus on the student's ability to provide organized and original contributions that reflect analysis and synthesis of the material presented.

Assignment 1 (30%)

Students will be expected to interview an advanced practice nurse and to relate the findings of this interview in a scholarly paper, comparing the role of the advanced practice role to the theoretical components of the role as outlined in the literature.

Assignment 2 (30%)

This assignment builds on the learning in assignment one to look more closely at what is required for the successful implementation of a new advanced practice role in a health care setting. Students will write a maximum 2250 word paper discussing the issue of role clarity, implementation and change management at the local level.

Assignment 3 (30%)

This assignment focuses the determinants of health. Students will develop an annotated bibliography of 6 current peer reviewed Canadian articles providing both a summary and evaluation of each.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, September 1, 2017

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