Nurse Practitioner Certification

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nurse practitioner certification
Nurse Practitioner Certification. Certification is available to all graduates of accredited, accredited, postgraduate or doctorate accredited master's programs in selected population focus. At this time, only California, Indiana, and Kansas will recognize nurse practitioners without national certification.

Due to considerable differences in certification and licensing policies of the State Council has been a challenge for many advanced practice nurses, the proposed APRN Consensus Model recommends a more uniform certification process between state jurisdictions. One significant change contained in this model is that new certification and licensing policies will focus on the role of nursing first, then population focus. This means that the role-specific certification exam will be tested in one of six population focuses: neonatal, pediatric, adult gerontology, women's health, family / entire life span, and mental / mental health. For example, the certification exam requirements for NPs serving the population of children will be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner exam.

According to the APRN Consensus Model, special preparation of APRN can not replace education preparation in its core role as NP, or in any of the six population focuses.

Special certification will still be available, but will not be a requirement for advanced practice permissions. Additional education and preparation in specialized areas of expertise should be based on the role and focus of the population and the model recommends that competency in the field of specialization be assessed by professional organizations. For example, a new nursing practitioner who wants special certification in oncology will take the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner certification exam first, then gain further depth of education and skills in that role and population to meet the requirements of child oncology certification. And, to make further consistency, it is proposed that each state license indicates the role of the nurse's practice first, then the population to be served by practitioners, followed by specialization (if any). In the child NP example discussed above, the license will show 'APRN, Nurse Practitioner, Pediatrics, Oncology'.

The accredited certification exam tests graduate students on several components of practitioner practice areas practiced by nurses. Tests have been developed to evaluate clinical knowledge and competence in all aspects of patient assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation. The content of the exam also includes relevant clinical knowledge and competencies in anatomy, pathophysiology, disease symptomatology, diagnostic testing, differential diagnosis, and epidemiology. Additional areas covered include evidence-based research and practices, interview techniques, counseling, educational theories, and biopsychosocial theories. Treatment knowledge should include pharmacological, nonpharmacological, and complementary therapies and protocols. Two additional testing areas include strategies for promotion and health knowledge on aspects of legal practice and ethics.

For clarification, it is important to fully understand the definition of the three major certification requirements as defined by the APRN Consensus Model:
  • Roles - Proper clinical and didactic experience of the four Roles of APRN: Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP), Clinic Nurse Specialist (CNS), Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNS) Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CNNA).
  • Foci Population - Competence in at least 1 of 6 populations: families / individuals across ages, gerontology of adults, children, neonatal, women / gender, or mental / mental health.
  • Specializations - A focus of practice beyond the focus of roles and populations and related to health care needs, including (ontology, oncology, orthopedics, nephrology, and palliative care.

The proposed changes in the certification described are seen as a positive step toward a consistent and effective model for advanced nursing practice education and certification. Prospective NPs should pay attention to the expiry date of their certification of choice. The following list of organizations will provide some basic information about the current certification options they offer.

The Academy of Nurse Nurse Practitioner Certification Program (AANPCP)

Primary Care Certification-Gerontology Primary Care NP combined offered by AANPCP is nationally recognized and respected by nursing councils in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and some U.S.

nurse practitioner certifications


American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

The ANCC certification is recognized in all 50 states and offers the largest selection by population. Recertification is required every 5 years.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)

  • Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) *
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP) *
  • Practitioners of Pediatric Nurses (PNP)
  • Mental Health and Mental Adult Practitioner (PMHNP) **
  • Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) **
Scheduled to be terminated in the future, will be replaced by combination and certification exams
** Currently, PMHNP candidates can complete exams in family or adult life care and mental health, although it is anticipated that these will be incorporated in the future.

The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)

nurse practitioner certification of Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

PNCB offers 2 certifications in the care of children, both of which are recognized in all 50 states. Annual re-certification and 15 hours of continuing education are required, but diverse options are offered to meet the annual educational requirements.
  • Practitioners of Pediatric Nurses - Acute Treatment (ACPNP)
  • Practitioners of Pediatric Nurses - Primary Care (PCPNP)

American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)

ACNPC accepted in 39 states. AACN requires recertification every 5 years and several different options are offered to meet renewal requirements.
* Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNPC)

National Certification Corporation (NCC)

nurse practitioner certification of National Certification Corporation

All the states requesting certification recognize the NCC certification program. NPs that have NNP or WHNP certification must renew every 3 years and renewal options include continuing education or re-examination requirements. Continue changing education options and requirements in 2014.
  • Practitioners of the Neonatal Nurse (NNP)
  • Female Nurse Practitioner OB / GYN Health (WHNP)

Oncology Certification Nursing Corporation (ONCC)

nurse practitioner certification of Oncology Certification Nursing Corporation
AOCNP certification is recognized in 11 states. ONCC will make some changes in the certification requirements by 2013. The NP with AOCNP certification must update every 4 years and several different options are offered to meet renewal requirements.
* Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP)

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Certification for Nurse Practitioners - Getting national certification is required by many states and employers for nursing practitioners and other advanced nursing practitioners. Credentialing is available at ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center) and the AANP (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners). Candidates are required to pass a certification exam in a specialized field to get certified. Typically, this area of specialization is equivalent to graduate degree programs who have completed their education.