Abstract The primary health care in the Spanish National Health System is organised in health centres with multi-professional teams, composed of doctors and nurses specialised in family and community health, in addition to other professionals. This article analyses the role of primary health care nurses in the Spanish National Health System. In the last decade, new concepts of task sharing between doctors and nurses as well as advanced nursing roles have been evolved in the health centres that focus on improving care for chronically ill patients and access to primary care. With shared responsibility, nurses are responsible for chronic patients in stable conditions, health prevention and promotion. The scaling up of advanced nursing tasks is limited by uncertainties of roles, disparities between states, and legislations that do not cover the full extent of advanced nursing tasks. The case study of Spain indicates that a strong multi-professional model of primary health care teams is a crucial basis for the evolvement of advanced nursing practice and its acceptance in daily routines. However, advantageous education structures and legislations are needed to allow nurses to develop their contribution in the full potential.