The Future Role of Advanced Practice Clinicians in Finnish Healthcare*

November 16, 2018


By Denise Villikka

Recently, healthcare professionals from across Finland gathered in Rotterdam for the 10th annual ICN conference. Represented where 1500 nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses along with clinical experts and healthcare professionals from 57 countries. The central theme for this conference focused on exploring the changing role of advanced practice clinicians as multi-professional leaders in the transformation of healthcare provision. In an age where technological innovations such as AI, genomics and the growth of consumerism are empowering the individual consumer and influencing practice, collaborative leadership and sustainability in the development of human resources represent supportive inroads that may help ensure the provision of future universal health coverage for our global community. (ICN Conference, 2018)

Worldwide, the caring sector is facing challenges brought on by shifts in population demographics, stemming from factors like low birth rates, aging societies, migration patterns and the spread of western lifestyles. These along with socioeconomic factors like decreased resources and an increase in chronic diseases are influencing nursing practice (APN, 2014; Morilla-Herrera et al., 2016). One example can be seen in the political and social debate that invariably presents ageing and the chronically ill as a problem with major implications for the affordability of healthcare. This may be due to the current ideas about ageing, illness and health. Where, in the past, the management of chronic illness was the sole responsibility of physicians, recently there seems to be a paradigm shift from a medical model to that of a bio psychosocial model that includes shared decision-making. (UN General Assembly 2015; WHO 2015)

If this integrated way of providing healthcare is adopted internationally, co-creation of service structures will be needed that includes collaboration between the healthcare professional and the patient, between the healthcare professional and the family and informal networks around the patient, between healthcare professionals with various backgrounds and between institutes. Advanced practice clinicians in the role of transformative leaders and inter-professional collaborators could provide the stability necessary in this changing landscape to empower patients, encourage the healthcare team and influence the political agenda of nations. However, global variations like the growing influence of free market models for health care, financing and care delivery are influencing the training and role of APN’s across the globe. Therefore, adopting an international perspective and agreement as to the type of training and responsibilities of nurse practitioners and advanced clinicians could aid in professional uniformity and the acceptance of advanced practice across Europe. (ICN 2018; UN General Assembly 2015)

Within the country of Finland, utilizing advanced practice clinicians as multi-professional leaders, trained to take into consideration the individual needs of individuals within a specific operational environment and healthcare setting, could add stability and help ensure patient safety as the provision of healthcare shifts from regional control, to becoming the responsibility of municipalities across Finland (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, 2018). However, conscious leadership through mentoring and training along with strategic planning is powerless unless it is communicated to stakeholders throughout the care continuum in ways that effect change from policy makers to primary caregivers operating at the bedside. (Kilpatrick et al., 2015) Therefore, building awareness as to the potential positive impacts of APNs within the socio-political environment in addressing the specific health needs of Finnish communities such as improving workforce supply and demand and fostering transformative collaboration across professions within the Finnish Healthcare could foster awareness as to the potential benefits of adopting the leadership role of Advanced Practice Clinicians in healthcare centers throughout Finland. (ICN, 2018)

*Special mention for their generosity to: Tiina Stenman, (; Marika Arbelius-Iltanen (; Minna Peltomaa ( Jonna Laine (; Sini Hämäläinen (

The Future Role of Advanced Practice Clinicians in Finnish Healthcare*
Denise Villikka

APN Policy Brief (2014). Advanced Practice Nursing: An Essential Component of Country Level Human Resources for Health. URL: [Accessed 31.8.2018 7.02]

ICN (2018). 10th ICN NP/APN Conference Rotterdam: Homepage. URL: [Accessed 28.8.2018 5.52]

Kilpatrick, K., Carter, N., Bryant-Lukosius, D., Charbonneau-Smith, R., & DiCenso, A. (2015). Development of evidence briefs to transfer knowledge above advanced practice nursing roles in providers, policy-makers and administrators. Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership, Vol. 28(1), 11-23

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. (2018) URL: [Accessed 31.8.2018 10.10]

Morilla-Herrera, J. C., Garcia-Mayor, S., Martín-Santos, F.J., Kaknani Uttumchandani, S., Leon Campos, Á., Caro Bautista, J., & Morales-Asencio, J. M. (2016). A systematic review of the effectiveness and roles of advanced practice nursing in older people. International Journal of Nursing Studies. January Vol. 53, 290-307

United Nations General Assembly (2015) Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. URL: [Accessed 31.8.2018 6.53]

World Health Organization. (2015). Health Workforce 2030: A Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health. Geneva: WHO. URL: [Accessed 31.8.2018 4.13]