APN Professional Development Plan
The role of an advanced practice nurse is versatile not only from state to state but also throughout different countries. The specific role of the nurse practitioner will be examined including the guidelines of the state in which you will practice including the educational requirements, licensure, and other regulatory elements. Nurse practitioners are also responsible for exhibiting competence in many areas of primary care, these competencies will be discussed in further detail. Nurse practitioners are also responsible for exhibiting leadership not only in the patient’s medical treatment but among the many team members involved in each patient’s plan of care. The necessary leadership skills and strategies for improvement will assist in a deeper understanding of what a Nurse Practitioner should exhibit.
APN Scope of Practice
The APN scope of practice discusses a variety of topics including specific guidelines for your state, educational requirements, licensure, and regulations. Let’s begin with the educational requirements for nurse practitioners. In the state of Tennessee, Nurse Practitioners are required to have obtained education and licensure as a Registered Nurse, graduate education consisting of a Master’s or Doctoral degree from an accredited Nurse Practitioner Program, and certification from an accredited board such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Certification Board (AANPCB)(American Association of Nurse Practitioners, n.d). The guidelines that are put in place for Nurse Practitioners are regulated by each state individually. The Tennessee Board of Nursing helps mandate the guidelines and regulatory requirements for nurse practitioners. Tennessee is also a Restricted Practice state. This means, “State practice and licensure laws restrict the ability of NPs to engage in at least one element of NP practice. State law requires career-long supervision, delegation or team management by another health provider in order for the NP to provide patient care.” (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, n.d). The ability to write scripts is also regulated by the state of Tennessee including, “A nurse who has been issued a certificate of fitness as a nurse practitioner pursuant to § 63-7-207 and this section shall file a notice with the board, containing the name of the nurse practitioner, the name of the licensed physician collaborating with the nurse practitioner who has control and responsibility for prescriptive services rendered by the nurse practitioner, and a copy of the formulary describing the categories of legend drugs to be prescribed and/or issued by the nurse practitioner. The nurse practitioner shall be responsible for updating this information.” (Tennessee Code, n.d). Controlled substances that have different levels of scheduling have additional rules and regulations between the physician and nurse practitioner. If a script is hand-written, the handwriting must be legible, and the collaborating physician must also be listed. Additional criteria includes that, “the prescription order must contain the name of the prescribing nurse practitioner, the name and strength of the drug prescribed, the quantity of the drug prescribed, handwritten in letters or in numerals, instructions for the proper use of the drug and the month and day that the prescription order was issued, recorded in letters or in numerals or a combination thereof.” (Tennessee Code, n.d). These rules and regulations are put in place to protect the patient, nurse practitioner, and physician.
Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies
The core competencies for nurse practitioners are intended to align with educational foundations that is being taught throughout NP programs. We will discuss areas of strength and opportunity of growth as we dig deeper into these competencies. One strength that I feel I will have including the competency that, “Integrates knowledge from the humanities and sciences within the context of nursing science.” (National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, 2017, p.2). This could be a strength for me because of my ability to incorporate my knowledge of different areas such as effective communication and the overall art of nursing. I am eager to learn new topics and ideas as well, and I believe looking at other areas of science and blending this with advanced nursing care would greatly benefit the patient’s medical treatment they are receive. The second strength I feel I will exhibit includes, “Anticipates variations in practice and is proactive in implementing interventions to ensure quality.” (National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, 2017, p.6). I feel that I will do well in this area because I enjoy working with a team especially of different specialties. The ability to work with your team members including physicians, case management, respiratory therapy, physical and occupational therapy, and speech therapy is pertinent in the transitions and improvement in medical condition of each individual patient. Due to the importance of this aspect, “Health care policy has focused on interdisciplinary team care as a means to improve access to care and health outcomes. Successful interdisciplinary teams maximize the contributions of each team member’s knowledge, skills, and professional expertise.” (Gigli, 2018, p.139). One area of growth that I feel will be presented to me includes, “Facilitates the development of health care systems that address the needs of culturally diverse populations, providers, and other stakeholders.” (National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, 2017, p.11). This area of growth I feel will come with more experience and the specific types of patient populations I will be exposed to most in my area. Being open to learning about the different patient populations you will be serving in your work environment is the best way to grow in this specific area. I feel that I will become comfortable asking specific questions regarding patient populations as I continue in my clinical training. The second area of growth includes, “Provides leadership in the translation of new knowledge into practice.” (National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, 2017, p.6). This opportunity for growth includes being open to new medical knowledge and implicating it into my practice. I always want to stay open-minded when it comes to medical treatment and the advances we are making. I also want to encourage my fellow medical professionals to try new ways of treatment as well so we are continuously improving and overall providing the best medical care we can. One scholarly activity you can participate in while receiving your masters includes continuing education opportunities specific to your specialty areas or interests. These continuing education opportunities were, “Developed by and for NPs, AANP’s comprehensive CE program provides exemplary educational experiences for NPs and NP students” (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, n.d). Another scholarly activity you can participate in while you are receiving your masters includes attending local, state level, and national level conferences for Nurse Practitioners. In these conferences, “Lend your voice, meet with your elected representatives and work to make a difference for your patients and for the NP role!” (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, n.d). Nurse practitioners of all areas and specialties are welcome to come together and discuss methods to improve overall patient care and medical treatments. This includes working with individuals outside of the hospital setting such as local, state, and national lawmakers to improve the overall medical treatment we are giving. As students currently enrolled in a Nurse Practitioner programs, we encouraged to attend these conferences to see how health care is changing and the new information that is being released to further improve medical treatments.
Evaluation of what makes a Nurse Practitioner a leader includes three keys skills including having a defined leadership role, director level accountability, leadership mentoring (Elliott, 2016, p. 79). I feel that these key skills are necessary for the development of a sound leader. A nurse practitioner needs to know their defined role and responsibilities and have strong relationships with the leaders of different areas in health care. Nurse practitioners must demonstrate willingness to learn new treatments methods for the best health care we can provide and mentor new nurse practitioners. The first strategy for having a defined leadership role includes, “Having clarity on the advanced nurse practitioner’s role and function both in nursing and across the multi-disciplinary team, so that their leadership role is clear.” (Elliott, 2016, p.79). As the nurse practitioner, you want to lead the whole multi-disciplinary team towards the overall goal and treatment plans for the patients. This includes open and effective communication among your team members regarding the desires of the patient. As a leader for the Nurse Practitioners of your workplace, it is important to keep the patient the center of the medical treatment and to continue to be their advocate. The second strategy for developing leadership skills as a nurse practitioner includes having a mentor. The clinical knowledge, advice, and guidance that a mature nurse practitioner can give you is pertinent in the development of your clinical practice. This includes, “Having mentors in the form of ‘leadership brokers’ to guide advanced nurse practitioners on using/ developing the particular skill-sets that are needed for successful implementation of innovation and practice changes in multi-disciplinary and business-orientated health care organizations” (Elliott, 2016, p.79). Having a mentor to help guide you and encourage you to trust your clinical foundation and judgment as a new nurse practitioner is pertinent in your transition from the student to the provider. Your mentor can also guide you in clinical practices that have evolved and new ways to provide up to date medical treatment. If your mentor has a different process that they have found helpful and dependable this will also help expand your clinical foundation and practices. Developing your leadership skills as a nurse practitioner is important in being the best advocate for your patient and improving your medical practice.
The role of a nurse practitioner has many requirements including sound clinical knowledge and understanding of the scope of practice, further development of the core competencies, and the necessary leadership skills to be the most effective advocate for your patients. The scope of practice for nurse practitioners is versatile and varies from state to state within our nation and globally. Sound understanding of your state’s regulatory bodies and requirements will greatly benefit your overall practice as a nurse practitioner. The competencies that have been put into place allow nurse practitioners to stay on track with their development and what areas they may require growth. Examining the areas of strength and the areas needing growth will improve the practice of a well-rounded nurse practitioner. Consistently evaluating these areas will improve the overall medical treatment you are providing to your patients daily. A nurse practitioner also develops leaderships skills so that the patient is receiving the best medical treatment. This includes clear definition of your role as the nurse practitioner, being accountable in your own actions, working well with the other members of the interdisciplinary teams, and learning from your mentors as well as mentoring other nurse practitioners. Discussion of ways to sharpen your leadership skills includes consistently continuing your education and staying up to date in new medical treatments. Another method includes working with other nurse practitioners not only locally but statewide and nationally. The world of medicine is consistently changing and developing new methods, as a nurse practitioner we are required to anticipate these changes and learn new methods to give our patients the best medical treatment we can.
- Elliott, N. (2016). Building leadership capacity in advanced nurse practitioners - the role of organisational management. Journal of Nursing Management, 25(1), 77–81. doi: 10.1111/jonm.12444
- AANP: The American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2020, from https://www.aanp.org/
- National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. (2017). Nurse practitioner core competencies content. Retrieved from https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.nonpf.org/resource/resmgr/competencies/2017_NPCoreComps_with_Curric.pdf
- Tennessee Code. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2020, from http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/Tennessee Code
- Gigli, K. H., Dietrich, M. S., Buerhaus, P. I., & Minnick, A. F. (2018). Nurse Practitioners and Interdisciplinary Teams in Pediatric Critical Care. AACN Advanced Critical Care, 29(2), 138–148. doi: 10.4037/aacnacc2018588
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