I decided to undertake credentialing through the RCN as I think it's important to promote standardisation.
There are many confusing roles used within Primary Care where I work. This makes it difficult for patients and colleagues to know exactly what to expect from nurses calling themselves Advanced Nurse Practitioners.
As nursing roles have developed over the last few years, many nurses have come to this advanced level via very different routes. This means that parity amongst roles is difficult to standardise and credibility can be compromised.
More importantly, it impacts on patients understanding of the care they can expect, and I believe can also affect patient experience and even outcomes.
Credentialing is a way to address this confusion of roles and titles, through recognition of a nurses experience, qualifications and competence to practice at this level, which can only help with our professional identity, progression, credibility and of course, care of our patients.
We have three nurses in our practice who all work legitimately at advanced level and yet we have varying educational qualifications and professional experience. As a nurse partner in our practice I set the example of applying for credentialing and encouraged the other two nurses to do the same. We all received our credential certificate and badge after a fairly pain free process.
We are currently merging ten practices in our locality which means that we will be sharing expertise. One way for us to be able to standardise roles across the merged practice is to ensure that we have a common professional identity.
I believe that as Advanced Level Nurses it is our duty to promote this standardisation of the role through recognition by the RCN.