As a nurse for over 30 years and a nurse practitioner for the past 12 years, RCN Credentialing was the next natural step for me in my career.
I’m the only nurse at my busy practice which serves over 12,000 patients. Being a nurse practitioner involves a great amount of responsibility, self-awareness and competence. I treat a variety of patients and there aren’t many things I can’t deal with.
I started out as an A&E nurse, then became a general practice nurse. I went on to gain my prescribing qualification because I knew I was able to identify medications my patients needed and didn’t want to wait for GPs to sign prescriptions for me anymore!
I took my BSc Nurse Practitioner course in 2004 because I realised that there was a big chunk of information missing in my own personal nursing toolkit. Gaining the credential all these years after, was certainly tough but having my revalidation files in order meant it was just a case of bringing everything together.
The RCN credential is hugely positive for nursing. Patients increasingly want know who they are being treated by and the credential helps provide that reassurance for patients and the public of the skill of the nurse treating them. It instils public confidence in our profession.
It’s also important for my employers. My practice now has a quality mark attached to it, and although they’ve always appreciated the work of nurse practitioners, for nurses out there who are not recognised as practicing at that level by their employers, gaining the credential shows the level of care you are able to give.
Having the RCN credential has also opened up my career prospects. Being able to show I’ve achieved a standard recognised by fellow nurses and employers is welcome recognition of how hard I’ve worked to get where I am and will support my future career decisions.
My day to day role is a mix of management and hands-on nursing. I manage a team of advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) and also work as a clinical nurse practitioner.
The staff on my team are incredibly competent ANPs, but they all have different backgrounds. Some have masters, some the Bachelor of Science (BSc). For me, RCN credentialing was about bringing credibility to the role of the ANP. I’m pleased that the RCN looked at the work of advanced nurses and really understood what an ANP is.
The RCN credential complements the MSc in Clinical Practice I’m doing now. It’s different because it looks at competency in four pillars of advanced practice and gives recognition in addition to the master’s qualification.
Credentialing was relatively easy, the hardest part for me was the research aspect because I needed to use evidence based practice, but creating the job plan covering the four pillars was easy as it’s something I do in my role most days.
I needed a clinical reference and my work had to be signed off by my line manager, who was very supportive and interested in the credential.
I’ve already promoted credentialing with other ANPs in my team. I’ve been telling them it’s good for credibility and recognition as professionals doing advanced work. It’s also good for nurses coming into our profession because it provides a clear pathway, which has always been there but this gives us structure.
There is still confusion among professionals and definitely among the public, and the credential gives clarity. I think employers know what standard there is among peers but it can’t hurt to have that recognition, and hopefully it will make it clearer for the public. People think if you’ve got a stethoscope, you’re a doctor!
If you’re thinking of doing the RCN credential, I’d say go for it! I will definitely wear my badge with pride.
I’d just completed my MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice at University of Cumbria when I heard about RCN credentialing. My course was accredited by the RCN which meant I didn’t need to evidence a year in practice before taking on the credential. I felt the credential offered something extra to help me to stand out from my peers, so I went for it straight away.
Having just done my masters, I had everything together in one place so the credentialing process was relatively simple. As I see it, my masters was about learning what I needed to work at an advanced level, but the credential is about showing this knowledge in practice. Writing my job plan and reflecting on evidence to show the pillars of advanced practice made me appreciate the skills I have.
I’m the first in a group of nurses from my hospital to complete their masters so I feel like I am leading the way with the credential too. Gaining the credential is a way of making your qualifications the best they can be and I’ll definitely encourage others to follow in my footsteps.
Being on a register of other credentialed nurses for me is acknowledgement of what I’ve achieved. It’s something that will help my skills get noticed and ultimately will improve the opportunities available to me in my career.