Frequently Asked Questions About the APRN Consensus Model for Nurse Practitioners
The Consensus Model 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.
The Consensus Model addresses:
- lack of common definitions relating to APRN roles.
- lack of standardization of APRN education programs.
- proliferation of specialties and subspecialties.
- lack of common legal recognition across states.
The Consensus Model defines four APRN roles:
- Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Yes; the full name of the work is the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education.
The Consensus Model was created to establish standards for uniform APRN regulation across the country that:
- facilitates mobility of APRNs.
- ensures public safety.
- increases access to healthcare.
- advocates appropriate scope of practice.
The target date for full implementation of the Consensus Model is by 2015.
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AACN Certification Corporation has completed a study of practice and is in the process of developing an acute care nurse practitioner certification exam that aligns with the adult-gerontology population focus as defined in the Consensus Model.
In February 2013, AACN Certification Corporation launched the adult-gerontology ACNP certification program. The ACNPC-AG credential is awarded to those meeting the educational eligibility requirements and passing the new certification exam.
Candidates must apply for the ACNPC initial exam by December 31, 2014. Current ACNPC certificants will have the following renewal options:
- 1,000 Practice Hours + 150 CE Points
- 1,000 Practice Hours + Exam
- 150 CE Points + Exam
If you allow your ACNPC certification to expire, to obtain certification you will need to meet the educational eligibility requirements for and pass the new ACNPC-AG certification exam.
Eligible candidates for the ACNPC-AG exam must be educated (master’s or postgraduate certificate) in an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program that includes in-depth content and competencies to care for the entire adult population (young adults, older adults and the frail elderly).
States that currently recognize ACNPC certification for advanced practice licensure should continue to do so; however this will be a state-by-state decision. NPs are encouraged to contact their board of nursing to find out what is being done to ensure continuation of their practice under the Consensus Model.
The Consensus Model document states that, “Boards of nursing will institute a grandfathering* clause that will exempt those APRNs already practicing in the state from new eligibility requirements.”
*Grandfathering is a provision in a new law exempting those already in or a part of the existing system that is being regulated. When states adopt new eligibility requirements, currently practicing APRNs will be permitted to continue practicing within the state(s) of their current licensure.
No. While individual states may grandfather nurses currently working in the role making them exempt from new requirements, accreditation standards prohibit AACN Certification Corporation from grandfathering current certificants into the new credential.
Additional postgraduate education (such as a postmaster’s certificate) will most likely be required to meet the educational eligibility requirements to sit for the ACNPC-AG exam.
If you practice in a state that does not currently recognize ACNPC certification, we strongly urge you to contact the board of nursing to ask that they take the necessary steps to approve the ACNPC credential. To contact your state board, visit www.ncsbn.org/contactbon.htm.
You are strongly encouraged to obtain certification prior to 2015. If not, and you move to another state after 2015, you will most likely need to complete additional education (such as a postgraduate certificate) in order to meet the educational eligibility requirements for the new adult-gerontology (ACNPC-AG) certification exam.
NPs will be licensed as independent practitioners for practice within at least one of six population foci:
- psych/mental health
- family/individual across the lifespan
- women’s health/gender-related
Adult-gerontology NPs will be required to be educated to care for the entire adult population (young adults, older adults and the frail elderly).
Acute care and primary care remain separate CNP roles; this delineation applies only to the pediatric and adult-gerontology population foci.
With the Consensus Model, education, certification, licensure and practice of an individual APRN must be congruent in terms of both role and population focus.
The Consensus Model does not require or exclude the DNP as an entry-level degree option for APRNs.
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Adult acute care nurse practitioners who are currently certified through ANCC and meet AACN’s current practice, licensure and CE requirements may obtain ACNPC Certification by Endorsement.
For more details, refer to the ACNPC Endorsement Handbook at www.certcorp.org > Documents & Handbooks.
Most states accept the ACNPC credential for advanced practice licensure or designation. For a list of approved states, visit www.certcorp.org > ACNPC Introduction.
States that accept ACNPC certification for advanced practice licensure are expected to also accept ACNPC-AG certification.
We are actively communicating with those states that have not yet approved the ACNPC certification program and expect to gain approval from all states prior to implementation of the Consensus Model.
In 1995 to 2001, the national adult ACNP certification program was offered as a joint venture between AACN Certification Corporation and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
In September 2001, largely due to differences in our respective organizations' visions for the future of certification, we allowed ANCC to buy our share of the program and entered into a specified period of noncompetition, as a stipulation of our dissolution contract.
Using the agreed upon noncompete period, AACN spoke extensively with our ACNP constituents to ensure that their needs were fully understood and the Corporation was prepared to meet them. A national job analysis of currently practicing ACNPs was also conducted to determine the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for certification as an ACNP.
In 2007, AACN Certification Corporation launched an adult ACNP certification exam, aligned with our mission to provide comprehensive credentialing for nurses to ensure their practice is consistent with established standards of excellence in caring for acutely ill patients and their families.
AACN Certification Corporation recommends the following:
- Keep your certification current; don’t let it lapse.
- Stay connected to AACN for the latest updates on Consensus Model implementation.
- Monitor what is happening in your state and, as needed, advocate for recognition/protection of your APRN role.
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