Not all advanced nurse practitioners will meet criteria for RCN accreditation

Nearly 2,000 nurses have expressed interest in being early adopters of the RCN’s new ‘credentialing’ process for advanced practice, which will launch in April

Not all advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) will meet requirements for accreditation under a new RCN scheme, says its project lead. Last autumn, the RCN released limited information about the so-called ‘credentialing’ process, which officially launches in April.

Advance Nurse Practitioners
There will be new requirements for ANPs to meet, says the RCN
Picture: iStock

This included the requirement that nurses seeking accreditation would need a masters' degree, prescribing powers and the ability to open and close episodes of care.

Tough stance on eligibility 

Nursing Standard can reveal the College is taking a tough stance on eligibility for the scheme.

RCN associate consultant Karen Lynas said credentialing would only recognise nurses ‘working genuinely at the boundaries of their practice’.

‘We want to make sure this genuinely recognises those nurses working at advanced level, not just senior and experienced nurses. We don’t want to be elitist or exclusive, but we do want to recognise people operating at that particular range.’

Ms Lynas said, in order to be eligible, nurses had to be using the advanced practice daily they wanted to be credentialed in.

‘Nurses previously qualified as advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs), but not required in their day-to-day work to use prescribing would not be credentialed,’ she added.

‘The reason the RCN has held a line on this is because this is part of raising the profile and professionalism of nurses.

High levels of interest

A group of 24 nurses has already completed a pilot programme and now 1,850 nurses have expressed interest in being part of the early adopters’ group ahead of the official launch.

The cost of credentialing will be £350 and the formal accreditation will last for three years, after which time nurses will need to re-credential at a cheaper cost.

Ms Lynas added that for the first two years of the scheme, the College would help support nurses who want to ‘transition’ to masters’.

She said masters’ qualifications – which demonstrated ‘deep knowledge’ of practice – from a university accredited by the RCN would be essential.

‘[Eligible] nurses will also have prescribing rights because they can manage whole episodes of care for patients and are practising this every day in their working life.’

Variable time frame 

However, the length of time that it will take to be credentialed will vary on individuals’ circumstances. If nurses have a masters’ from an accredited university within the past two years, then qualifications won’t need to be reviewed or assessed at all, said Ms Lynas.

'They will just need to submit a current job plan and references.'

The RCN is looking at the possibility of a credentialing scheme for healthcare assistants next.

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