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RCN launches advanced nurse credentialing after successful pilot

New programme will boost careers of advanced practice nurses.
Credentialing

The RCN is launching its new credentialing programme for nurses working at an advanced level of practice, following a successful five-month trial.

Credentialing will provide formal recognition of high-quality advanced level nursing practice and is part of the college's move to provide a comprehensive career pathway for the profession.

The new accreditation for advanced level nurses, known as the RCN ALNP (advanced level nursing practice), will help ensure patients are confident in their nurse's expertise and experience, and enable nurses to develop and enhance their skills.

Promoting the profession

RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: 'The RCN is nursings professional body and we take seriously our commitment to value, promote and enhance the profession.

'Nursing is constantly developing

The RCN is launching its new credentialing programme for nurses working at an advanced level of practice, following a successful five-month trial.


Credentialing will help nurses to develop their skills. Picture: iStock

Credentialing will provide formal recognition of high-quality advanced level nursing practice and is part of the college's move to provide a comprehensive career pathway for the profession.

The new accreditation for advanced level nurses, known as the RCN ALNP (advanced level nursing practice), will help ensure patients are confident in their nurse's expertise and experience, and enable nurses to develop and enhance their skills.

Promoting the profession

RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: 'The RCN is nursing’s professional body and we take seriously our commitment to value, promote and enhance the profession. 

'Nursing is constantly developing and the RCN’s credentialing programme will help the profession to adapt and recognise the new, complex roles that are emerging.

'This programme will use the RCN’s expertise and unparalleled knowledge of the profession to help nurses develop their careers and give patients and employers confidence in the continuing development of their nursing staff.'

Nurses will require a relevant master's qualification and non-medical prescribing rights, and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. 

Transitional arrangements are in place until December 2020, which mean nurses working at advanced level, but who do not hold a full master's qualification, can apply for credentialing through submission of a portfolio of evidence.

Something extra

West Cumberland Hospital advanced clinical practitioner Nicola Holden has now gained the RCN ALNP credential, after recently completing an MSc in advanced clinical practice at the University of Cumbria.

Ms Holden said: 'I felt the credential offered something extra to help me stand out from my peers.

'As I see it, my master's was about learning what I needed to work at an advanced level, but the credential is about showing this knowledge in practice.

'Being on a register of other credentialed nurses is acknowledgement of what I’ve achieved.

'It’s something that will help my skills get noticed and ultimately will improve the career opportunities available to me.'

Accreditation process

To attain the accreditation nurses need to demonstrate their experience, qualifications and competence to a group of expert assessors. 

Successful nurses will receive a badge and certificate and be included on a public-facing directory of advanced nurses.

There will also be opportunities to become an ambassador in advanced practice for the RCN and attend a dedicated annual continuing professional development event.

To find out more go to www.rcn.org.uk/credentialing

'Credentialing instils public confidence in our profession'

Stockport nurse practitioner Amanda Bell has been a nurse for more than 30 years and a nurse practitioner for the past 12. She says she saw gaining the RCN ALNP credential as the next step.

Ms Bell is the only nurse at a busy practice serving more than 12,000 patients, and she says being a nurse practitioner involved a great amount of 'responsibility, self-awareness and competence'.

She adds: 'I treat a variety of patients and there aren’t many things I can’t deal with.

'I started out as an A&E nurse, then became a general practice nurse. I went on to gain my prescribing qualification because I knew I was able to identify medications my patients needed and didn’t want to wait for GPs to sign prescriptions.'

Ms Bell says she took a BSc nurse practitioner course in 2004 because she felt there was 'a big chunk of information missing' from her personal nursing toolkit.

'Gaining the credential all these years after was certainly tough, but having my revalidation files in order meant it was just a case of bringing everything together,' she says.

Ms Bell believes the accreditation is hugely positive for nursing: 'Patients increasingly want know who they are being treated by. The credential helps provide that reassurance for patients and the public of the skill of the nurse treating them.

'It instils public confidence in our profession and is also important for my employers.

'My practice now has a quality mark attached to it, and although they’ve always appreciated the work of nurse practitioners, for nurses out there who are not recognised as practising at that level by their employers, gaining the credential shows the level of care you are able to give.'

Finally, Ms Bell adds that the RCN credential has opened up her career prospects.

'Being able to show I’ve achieved a standard recognised by fellow nurses and employers is welcome recognition of how hard I’ve worked to get where I am, and it will support my future career decisions.'

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