Frequently Asked Questions about the APRN Consensus Model for – NP Programs

What is the APRN Consensus Model?

The Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education is a broad-based model for regulation of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) throughout the United States. The model was developed by the APRN Consensus Work Group and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) APRN Advisory Committee, with extensive input from APRN stakeholders.
It addresses:

  • lack of common definitions of APRN roles.
  • lack of standardization of APRN education programs.
  • proliferation of APRN specialties and subspecialties.
  • lack of common legal recognition of APRNs across states.

Intended outcomes are to:

  • ensure public safety.
  • facilitate mobility of APRNs.
  • advocate appropriate scope of practice.
  • increase access to healthcare.

When does the Consensus Model go into effect?

The target date for full implementation of the recommendations of the Consensus Model is by 2015. APRN education programs should prepare to be transitioned in 2014.

How does the Consensus Model impact the scope of practice for the certified nurse practitioner (CNP)?

With the Consensus Model, adult NPs are required to be educated, and their competencies assessed via national certification exams, in care of the entire adult population (young adults, older adults and the frail elderly). 

Acute care and primary care remain separate CNP roles; the acute and primary care delineation applies only to pediatric and adult-gerontology population foci. Scope of practice of the nurse practitioner is not setting specific but is based on patient care needs. 

How does the Consensus Model affect the current adult ACNPC certification program offered by AACN Certification Corporation?

Anyone wishing to take the ACNPC initial exam must apply by December 31, 2014.

Current NPs may continue to renew their certification into the future, as long as it does not lapse and renewal requirements are met. If you allow your ANCPC certification to expire, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements for the ACNPC-AG exam. Current ACNPC certificants interested in ACNPC-AG certification will most likely need additional post-graduate education to be eligible to sit for the ACNPC-AG exam.

To provide current ACNPCs every opportunity to renew, AACN offers three renewal options: 

  • Practice Hours + CE Points
  • Practice Hours + Renewal Exam
  • CE Points + Renewal Exam 

When should the Consensus Model be implemented into education programs? 

Programs should consider that all students currently enrolled under existing adult ACNP program curricula must apply for the ACNPC exam before December 31, 2014.

What credential will AACN Certification Corporation offer to NPs?

In January 2013, AACN launched the new adult-gerontology ACNP certification program — the ACNPC-AG. This certification meets requirements for ACNP licensure as defined by the Consensus Model.

How does eligibility for the new adult-gerontology ACNP exam differ from eligibility for the adult ACNPC exam?

Eligible candidates for the ACNPC-AG exam must be educated in an adult-gerontology acute care NP graduate-level program that includes in-depth competencies to care for the entire adult population (young adults, older adults and the frail elderly). Education may be in a master’s, post-graduate or DNP program.

Will advanced practice nurses be grandfathered into the new certifications?

No. While individual states may grandfather nurses currently working in the role, making them exempt from new requirements, national certification accreditation standards prohibit AACN Certification Corporation from grandfathering current certificants into the new credential.  

Current ACNPC certificants interested in ACNPC-AG certification will most likely need additional post-graduate education to be eligible to sit for the Consensus Model-based ACNPC-AG exam.  

Will a DNP be required for advanced practice certification in 2015?

The Consensus Model does not require or exclude the DNP as an entry-level degree for APRNs.