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A new way to recognise advanced skills

​A credential for advanced level nurses that will offer standardised recognition of higher level practice is now being offered by the RCN

The RCN is about to launch a credential for advanced level nurses that will offer standardised recognition of higher-level practice.

The RCN is introducing a credential that will recognise the level of expertise and skill of advanced-level nurses. This will be a formal recognition for nurses, employers and, crucially, patients and the public. It will provide evidence of advanced skills across clinical practice, leadership, education and research. This is not about a job title; it is about recognising the level at which a nurse practises.

Assurance

For nurses, the credential represents formal recognition of advanced-level practice and clarity about the nursing career pathway; for the employer, it provides assurance of the level of practice of advanced practitioners. It also builds the reputation of the nursing profession as

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The RCN is about to launch a credential for advanced level nurses that will offer standardised recognition of higher-level practice.


'Credentialing is an opportunity for nurses to demonstrate their knowledge, experience and competence'
Picture: iStock

The RCN is introducing a credential that will recognise the level of expertise and skill of advanced-level nurses. This will be a formal recognition for nurses, employers and, crucially, patients and the public. It will provide evidence of advanced skills across clinical practice, leadership, education and research. This is not about a job title; it is about recognising the level at which a nurse practises.

Assurance

For nurses, the credential represents formal recognition of advanced-level practice and clarity about the nursing career pathway; for the employer, it provides assurance of the level of practice of advanced practitioners. It also builds the reputation of the nursing profession as one that is continuously improving the standards of care.

Nurses have been working at advanced levels since the mid-1980s in the UK. However, there is no consistency about job descriptions, roles, titles and the level of experience and qualification required to practise at this level.

From April, the RCN, in partnership with universities, educators, experienced practitioners and senior nurses, will formally recognise and credential nurses who fulfil the criteria for working at an advanced level of practice.

The credential is achieved through the assessment of criteria developed by peers that represent the best in advanced-level nursing practice.

Credentialing is an opportunity for nurses to demonstrate their knowledge, experience and competence in their clinical practice. It allows them to enhance and develop their career prospects and continue their personal and professional development.

Who can apply

Any nurse working at an advanced level who has non-medical prescribing rights and an active registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council can apply for the RCN credential. It is essential to have a relevant master’s qualification related to advanced clinical practice that is either an RCN-accredited course, or one mapped against the accredited programme.

It is available to nurses practising at advanced level in the NHS, the independent or the voluntary sector, and membership of the RCN is not a condition.

Benefits

Until December 2020, transitional arrangements are in place so nurses who do not currently meet the criteria for the credential, but who are undertaking advanced-level practice, can apply for the credential on submission of evidence demonstrating the RCN’s criteria for advanced-level nursing have been met.

Those nurses who are successful in achieving the credential will be included on a database and will receive a badge and certificate. The credential will be renewed every three years on application.

A significant benefit will be that public confidence in the continuing development, capability and professionalism of nurses can be assured.

The credential is an important step forward for the nursing profession and nursing managers should encourage advanced-level nurses to apply for the credential as this demonstrates organisational commitment to continuing professional development and the provision of safe, effective, high-quality care.

Please encourage your staff who work at an advanced level of practice to register their interest for credentialing.


About the author

Shirley Reveley is the RCN associate consultant in credentialing. She is a registered nurse and nurse educator

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