Clinical practice, leadership, education, research – the four pillars of advanced nursing practice. But how do you demonstrate you have those qualities in sufficient quantity to attain formal recognition of your expertise? The short answer is RCN credentialing.
Devised following extensive engagement with experienced nurses and educators, credentialing is a means of endorsing the skills of nurses and midwives working at an advanced level.
The RCN’s Associate Consultant for credentialing, Professor Shirley Reveley, says: “Credentialing is a formal recognition of educational experience and competence for an advanced nurse, measured against a set of criteria.” Those criteria include a relevant master’s degree and a prescribing qualification.
Shirley adds: “There is a robust assessment process to assure the quality of the offer, and its aim is to drive standards forward and give credibility to the profession.”
Practitioners who meet the necessary standards will be given a certificate and included on a register, thereby enhancing their career prospects and giving patients and the public extra confidence in their skills.
After a successful pilot, the service will officially launch next month. Until December 2020, there will be transitional arrangements in place so any nurses who don’t currently meet the criteria but are undertaking advanced level practice can apply for the credential on submission of a portfolio.
But what does credentialing mean in practice? Davina Collins is a clinical nurse manager who took part in the credentialing pilot and is now registered as an RCN Advanced Level Nurse Practitioner.
Davina Collins Senior Clinical Nurse Manager, Cumbria
I manage a team of nurses and advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs), and work as a clinical nurse practitioner. The staff on my team are incredibly competent ANPs, but they all have different backgrounds. Some have master’s degrees, some a BSc. For me, RCN credentialing was about bringing credibility to the role of the ANP.
The RCN credential complements the MSc in practice development I’m doing. It’s different because it looks at competency in the four pillars of advanced practice and gives recognition in addition to the master’s qualification.
Credentialing was relatively straightforward. The hardest part for me was identifying the research aspect but I related this to using evidence-based practice.
Creating a job plan covering the four pillars made me consider how my role covers these areas in daily practice.
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 been telling other ANPs in my team credentialing is good for credibility and recognition. It’s also good for nurses coming into our profession because it provides a clear pathway, which has always been there but this gives improved structure.
If you’re thinking of doing the RCN credential, I’d say go for it. www.rcn.org.uk/credentialing