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  • Advances in HIV treatment have led to the disease area being considered as a long-term condition; therefore people living with HIV are living longer and developing other co-morbidities, which are traditionally managed in the primary-care setting
  • As the care paradigm changes, nurses working in primary care will be required to provide care for people living with HIV alongside other co-morbidities
  • The guideline provides a framework to provide care and signposts nurses to education and professional development that can assist in improving patient outcomes
  • The guideline is the first of its kind in advanced practice as it outlines what advanced-practice nursing looks like within a specific disease area
  • Advanced-practice nurses working in other disease areas could use the guideline as a template to support the development of their roles

Competency requirements for advanced nursing practice roles

  • Within HIV nursing practice the development of more evidence-based nursing, new technologies, pharmaceutical advances, and people with complex co-morbidities requires us to develop new ways of working
  • Focused education and training are fundamental in developing and maintaining advanced nurse practice within HIV care in order to meet the needs of the person living with HIV
  • The following offers guidance on how a level of advanced practice can be achieved and then sustained

Academic qualifications

  • The National HIV Nurses Association (NHIVNA) recognises the importance of nurses working at advanced-practice level being educationally prepared for the role
  • Nurses working at advanced-practice level within HIV care should be educated to or working towards masters level of academic accreditation, and should undertake the non-medical prescribers course, clinical examinations, and a research methodology module
  • Within the academic pathway, nurses may choose to undertake a professional doctorate or PhD as part of their personal and professional development
    • whereas this is not a prerequisite for HIV nurses working at advanced practice, it enables the body of HIV nursing knowledge to be developed through nurses engaging in research

Required NHIVNA competencies to practice at an advanced-practice level within HIV

  • In order for an advanced level of practice to be achieved, the NHIVNA nursing competencies are fundamental in laying the foundation for nurses to begin their journey to an advanced level of practice
  • Nurses working at advanced-practice level in HIV care will be expected to practice at competency level 4
    • the HIV nursing competencies can be accessed via the NHIVNA website
  • Assessment of competencies in practice should be undertaken by a clinician (doctor or nurse) and line manager competent in the HIV field of practice and who has an in-depth understanding of the components of the advanced-practice role
  • It is advised that competencies are reviewed on a regular basis and can be linked to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revalidation process

E-learning modules

  • All nurses working at advanced-practice level within HIV care are required to undertake HIVinsight e-learning modules that incorporate basic knowledge and advanced-practice learning
  • The modules are designed to develop the nurse’s knowledge
  • The first five modules focus on understanding HIV, caring for people living with HIV, antiretroviral therapy, health promotion, and HIV testing
  • After completion of the first five modules nurses can then go on to undertake the advanced modules such as Treatment as Prevention (TasP) and HIV and ageing
  • The NHIVNA’s e-learning modules are free to access via the NHIVNA website and are underpinned by the NHIVNA competencies
  • The e-learning modules continue to be developed in partnership with the NHIVNA executive and are designed to build on nurses’ knowledge and competencies—all modules should be completed

National validated qualification in HIV care

  • The NHIVNA has worked in partnership with the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) educational arm, the Sexually Transmitted Infections Foundation (STIF), in order to create core competency training and work-based assessment programmes for nurses working in HIV care

The core competency training and assessment programme

  • All nurses working within HIV care should undertake the NHIVNA core competency training program
  • The NHIVNA core competency programme is a nationally recognised training and assessment qualification in HIV for nurses and midwives working in primary, community, and secondary care
  • The core competency programme involves clinical assessments during which time a trainee is observed working with patients, receives training, and is assessed in practice
  • The course uses a blended learning approach to meet the courses curriculum consisting of e-learning modules, practice-based assessments, and observations

The advanced competency training and assessment programme

  • Nurses working at advanced-practice level within HIV care are required to undertake the NHIVNA advanced competency training programme
  • The advanced competency training is a work-based programme that assesses nurses working at advanced practice level within HIV care
  • Similar to the core competency programme, the course uses a blended learning approach to meet the course’s curriculum consisting of e-learning modules, practice-based assessments, and observations

Educational requirements for nurses working at advanced-practice level within HIV care

educational requirements for nurses working at advanced practice level within hiv care

Continuing professional development requirements

  • The NHIVNA recommends continuing professional development with the focus of study building on existing knowledge to ensure competencies are kept up to date
  • Continuing professional development (CPD) should take into consideration the changing needs of the disease area and include chronic disease management knowledge
  • The NHIVNA is committed to providing CPD via a blended learning approach utilising e-learning modules, study days, conferences, and through journal articles within HIV nursing
  • It is recommended that nurses working at an advanced-practice level utilise the learning opportunities provided by the NHIVNA alongside identified professional development needs


Full guideline:

National HIV Nurses Association. Advanced nursing practice in HIV care. Available at: www.nhivna.org/documents/Competencies-Guidelines/advanced-practice/Advanced-Nursing-practice-in-HIV-care-2016.pdf

Published date: August 2016.