This is something that has been talked about for years, it was one of the first things which came up when I became a Consultant Nurse back in 2005. I was delighted when the RCN took on the cause and launched Credentialing earlier this year.
As an ANP that has worked at this level for almost two decades, having studied long and hard (and continuing to study long and hard – I've just commenced my fourth clinically focused post graduate degree) to get to where I am, I feel that Credentialing is vital on several fronts:
- It gives employers, potential employers and more importantly patients and members of the public the confidence that the person using the ALNP title does indeed hold a minimum skill set to use that title
- It is reassuring for me as an ANP to have the accreditation and the external assessment of my capabilities that I am indeed working at an Advanced Practice level. It feels like a recognition for the hard work I've done, and for the skills that I possess
- It is the start of ensuring that anyone working in an Advanced Practice role has a basic skill set which enables them to do that job safely. I feel it is incredibly important to promote the role of the Advanced Nurse Practitioner, to say we are working hard and we are practicing safely; this is about promoting high levels of nursing practice, driving up standards and providing high levels of safe and effective patient care.
I would urge anyone who is considering applying for Credentialing to stop thinking about it and to do it. This will give you the recognition for the level you are working at and further promote the role of the ALNP. It's also worth bearing in mind that you have until December 2020 to use existing non RCN accredited qualifications, and to use qualifications which are not a full MSc, to apply
If you are a Registered Nurse, then I would encourage you to think about a career pathway as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, and to become the next generation of ALNP’s.