Nursing expertise guaranteed

Helen Ward took part in the RCN’s credentialing pilot for advanced nurses so her skills could be recognised as valid.

Many of us entering the later years of our nursing careers will consider ourselves to be leaders in our clinical fields.

Picture: iStock

We will have witnessed great changes in the healthcare system and may well have been the pioneers of nursing education, management or leadership.

No longer valid?

We may have made sacrifices to undertake further study to develop the leadership and management skills required to develop our careers. Yet many of us – myself included – now find that the qualifications that we worked so hard for are no longer valid.

I was one of the first nurses to complete the RCN nurse practitioner course and I developed the role in clinical practice. At the time I did the course, it was a diploma but it is now a master’s degree.

So, even though I work in education and have maintained my clinical skills, my formal qualifications do not meet the criteria set for the advanced practice framework.

Recognition of advanced skills

It was a surprise to discover this, but there is now a solution in the form of the RCN’s credentialing initiative. This initiative credentials nurses who have worked at the vanguard of clinical nursing, education, leadership and research, but whose formal qualifications are no longer current.

Credentialing recognises the skill and expertise of advanced level nurses, providing evidence of advanced skills in clinical practice, leadership, education or research.

Credentialing pilot

Having recently taken part in the pilot of the RCN advanced level nursing practice (ALNP) credentialing project, I am pleased to say that I am credentialed for doing the job that I have been developing for the past 25 years.

The ALNP credentialing portal will be launched at the end of April. I would encourage any nurses working as an advanced practice nurse to get involved.

About the author

Helen Ward is associate professor in the School of Health and Social Care, Department of Primary and Social Care, London South Bank University


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