New accreditation scheme for advanced nurse practitioners, says RCN

The RCN is set to launch a new accreditation scheme for nurses working in advanced clinical practice.

A new scheme offering accreditation to advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) will soft launch this autumn, the RCN has revealed.

Dame Donna Kinnair said one of the definitions of an advanced practice would be a nurse who could open and close episodes of care. Picture: John Behets

The advanced practice 'credentialing' system will help develop a formal recognition of high-quality, advanced-level nursing practice, said RCN director of nursing, policy and practice Dame Donna Kinnair.

Assurance of high-quality nursing practice

Addressing nurses at the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) conference in London on Tuesday, professor Kinnair said credentialing would offer assurances of nurses' capability to employers and the public.

'It is recognition of the ability to practise to an advanced level, and kudos for that nurse practising at that level,' she said.

Professor Kinnair added that one of the definitions of advanced practice would be a nurse who could open and close episodes of care.

RCN associate consultant Karen Lynas, who is supporting the credentialing project, told Nursing Standard nurse who wanted accreditation would need a master's degree and prescribing ability.

'We are working with ANPs, accredited universities and employers to explore how we support those who have advanced practice, but do not fulfil these criteria to have their experience recognised,' she said.

Ms Lynas added it was likely accredited ANPs would have to 're-credential' every three years to demonstrate continuing practice.

Future ambitions

'Part of the RCN's work is to develop a comprehensive career pathway for the whole nursing profession,' professor Kinnair said.

'We will be at the forefront of developing recognition of high quality nursing practice from first degree to masters in advanced nursing and beyond.

'We will lead on new roles, new skill sets and new ways of working for nurses,' she said, adding that she wanted her royal college to be the best in the world.

Professor Kinnair also emphasised that, in the United States, the 'most rewarded' nurses were those who had patient contact.

'That is a vision I have for the future,' she said.

The initial approach has so far been tested with 24 UK nurses, before the scheme soft-launches in November with an early adopters' programme for ANPs.