Frequently Asked Questions about the APRN Consensus Model for NP Programs

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Q: What is the APRN Consensus Model?
A: The Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education, which went into effect in 2015, 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 model 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

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

A: 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 patient 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. 

Q: How does the Consensus Model affect the adult ACNPC certification program offered by AACN Certification Corporation?
A: 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 adult ACNPC certification to expire, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements for the adult-gerontology acute care NP exam. Adult ACNP certificants interested in adult-gerontology ACNP certification will most likely need to obtain a post-graduate certificate to be eligible to sit for the ACNPC-AG exam.

Current ACNPCs have three renewal options: 
  • Practice Hours + CE Points
  • Practice Hours + Renewal Exam
  • CE Points + Renewal Exam

Q: What credential does AACN Certification Corporation offer to NPs?
A: In January 2013, AACN launched the adult-gerontology ACNP certification program — the ACNPC-AG. This certification meets requirements for ACNP licensure as defined by the Consensus Model.

Q: Will AACN Certification Corporation grandfather current ACNPC certificants into ACNPC-AG certification?
A: 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.  

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

Q: Will a DNP be required for advanced practice certification?
A: The Consensus Model does not require or exclude the DNP as an entry-level degree for APRNs.