RCN sets the bar high for advanced nursing status

It’s good to see the college taking the lead on defining advanced practice, and it seems accreditation won’t be easy to achieve, writes Nursing Standard editor Graham Scott
Graham Scott

Details of how senior, specialist nurses will be able to accredit themselves as advanced practitioners are starting to emerge from the RCN.

It is immediately apparent that qualifying for this status is going to be far from easy, given the significant expectations that are likely to be set.

Defining advanced nursing practice has always been contentious, so the process of reaching professional consensus on the matter is as welcome as it is difficult. It is also good to see the RCN asserting its status as a royal college by taking the lead, rather than allowing the government or other organisations to determine the outcome.

Key points

In an interview with Nursing Standard, the RCN’s associate consultant on its advanced practice project, Karen Lynas, explains the college’s current thinking. The key points are that accreditation will only be afforded to nurses with a master’s degree, prescribing powers and the ability to open and close episodes of care.

Ms Lynas stresses that the RCN does not want to be elitist or exclusive, but at the same time wants to ensure that only nurses who are working at the boundaries of their practice qualify for advanced status.

The college is conscious that some senior and highly experienced nurses might take exception to this approach, especially those for whom formal educational opportunities have been hard to come by.

So it is good to see transitional arrangements will be put in place, with the aim of striking an appropriate balance that works for nursing and for those the profession serves.

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Not all advanced nurse practitioners will meet criteria for RCN accreditation