Role of Advanced Nurse Practitioners in enabling care in the Community

HSE Media Release: 17 September 2020

The Department of Health set of a target of 2% (approx.750) nurses and midwives across Ireland to follow a developmental pathway through experience and education and be registered as Advanced Practitioners.

Today we have over 40 ANPs in the North West and many are leading on virtual care, bringing care closer to home. We are delighted to support the enhancement of a global understanding of patient safety in the northwest on World Patient Safety Day. Advanced Nurse Practitioners across the North West who provide a range of health care services.  In County Donegal these include:

Denise Gillespie, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Child Health and Parenting within public health nursing in Donegal.  Denise is a qualified nurse; midwife and public health nurse. She worked as an area public health nurse in Donegal prior to moving to her current role as an ANP. She is also qualified as a Marte Meo Therapist.

Denise runs the pre-school children’s behaviour support clinic in Donegal which provides support to parents in the areas of sleep and behaviour. She enjoys working in partnership with parents to support their children’s social and emotional development and to help their children to sleep well. The COVID pandemic has presented opportunities to use technology to enhance her work and the use of virtual clinics has ensured that communication with parents remains a priority in challenging times.

Feedback from one parent was as follows:

“I feel it was an invaluable experience for me as a parent to receive the support and techniques provided and also invaluable towards the well-being and development of my child.”

Aisling Lafferty, Advanced Nurse Practitioner Candidate in Complex Trauma Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS).  Aisling has been working in the CAMHS Service in Donegal for the past 10 years, initially as a clinical nurse specialist, and eventually progressing to the ANP candidate role in 2018. She completed her masters in 2012 and more recently undertook the nurse prescribing course. Aisling currently specialises in working with complex/developmental trauma that has a co-occurring mental health component, for the under 18 population across Donegal.

As an ANP, Aisling provides assessment, education and various psychological interventions for those young people and their families in the aftermath of trauma. Along with her colleagues, Aisling has been involved in delivering different group therapies over the years and hopes to launch some new initiatives and undertake research as part of her current role as an ANP.

According to Aisling “As an ANP I have been afforded the opportunity to progress my own personal & professional development and because of this personal growth and professional expertise, I have been able to progress services for those children with complex mental health needs across Donegal. Furthermore, as a result of being awarded the innovation funding this year from the National, Midwifery, Planning & Development Unit, I can continue to progress the specialist role within the CAMHS service and advance the necessary resources for the service”.  According to a young client “, I attended trauma therapy through CAMHS and worked with Aisling. My PTSD has greatly improved in the year of therapy and although it was hard, it was the best decision I made”.

Sean Diver, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Urology at Letterkenny University Hospital.  Sean established a nurse-led urology assessment clinic at LUH where he has worked as a clinical nurse specialist for the last 20 years. More recently he has qualified with a Master in Health Sciences (Advanced Practice Nursing with Prescribing) through the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). His aim is to provide the person presenting with a urological condition the best possible care in accordance with national and international best practice, providing clinical expertise and knowledge in urology ensuring patients and families experience high quality care.

Improving patient outcomes through education and health promotion are at the centre of Sean’s philosophy as indicated by a patient who recently commented that “Taking the time to explain things clearly in a way I could understand made my journey much easier”.

Joe McDevitt, Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) in the Emergency Department at LUH.  Joe has worked in Emergency Care since 2001 His role as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner involves managing an evolving caseload of both adults and children who attend the Emergency Department with a range of different injuries. Typically, Joe manages the complete care of patients with various injuries, including those with fractures and those patients with wounds and also ENT problems/eye injuries. The ANPs at the ED are registered as a Nurse Prescribers of medicines and are qualified to arrange and interpret x-rays which enables them to manage their patient caseload autonomously.

All of the Advanced Nurse Practitioners across the North West have a vital role to play in supporting hospital avoidance and the Slàintecare agenda by enabling care in the community, closer to home.


Last updated on: 17 / 09 / 2020