Newswise — The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has published a new edition of “AACN Scope and Standards for Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Practice” to reflect the specialty’s evolving role and an ever-changing critical care landscape.
First issued in 2006 and previously updated in 2012, the new edition describes and measures the expected level of practice and professional performance for acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs).
The 2017 edition incorporates advances in scientific knowledge, clinical practice, technology and other changes in the dynamic healthcare environment. A work group of ACNP subject matter experts convened by AACN collaborated to update the content to reflect current practice.
The new edition addresses the full scope of practice for ACNPs, including those whose education and training prepare them to care for children with acute and critical illnesses. The new edition also aligns with the “Consensus Model for APRN Regulation” — also called the LACE Model — developed to create national congruence for licensure, accreditation, certification and education of advanced practice nurses.
The work environment for ACNPs often extends beyond traditional acute and critical care settings.
“The role of acute care nurse practitioners continues to expand as more hospitals and healthcare organizations discover the value of having ACNPs on staff,” said Linda Bell, AACN clinical practice specialist and editor of the publication. “Patients who used to be hospitalized are now cared for throughout the healthcare system. As a result, the services or care provided by ACNPs and other advanced practice providers are not defined or limited by setting but rather by patient care needs.”
The ACNP practices in any environment in which patients with acute, chronic and/or complex chronic illnesses or injury may be found. Examples include acute and critical care environments, emergency care for trauma stabilization, and procedural and interventional settings.
Additionally, the continuum of acute care services spans the geographic settings of home, ambulatory care, urgent care, long-term acute care, rehabilitative care and hospice and/or palliative care. The practice environment extends into the mobile environment, including advanced air and ground ambulances, and virtual locations, such as tele-intensive care units and areas using telehealth.
These standards are a valuable resource for acute care pediatric nurse practitioners (CPNP-AC), adult ACNPs (ACNPC-AG or ACNP-BC) and those developing educational programs for advanced nursing practice, job descriptions and credentialing, among other uses.
AACN Certification Corporation, the credentialing arm of AACN, offers the ACNPC-AG credential for ACNPs educated at the graduate level to provide advanced nursing care across the continuum of healthcare services to meet the specialized needs of adult-gerontology patients (young adults, older adults and frail elderly) with complex acute and/or chronic health conditions.
New test plans for the ACNPC-AG and other advanced practice certifications from AACN will go into effect for exams taken on or after Jan. 15, 2018, along with additional resources for candidates.
The updated “AACN Scope and Standards for Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Practice” can be downloaded as a PDF for free on AACN’s website at www.aacn.org/acnpscopeandstandards. A print version of the booklet can be purchased for $10 for AACN members and $25 for nonmembers from AACN’s online store.
About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 chapters in the United States. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109;
949-362-2000; www.aacn.org; facebook.com/aacnface; twitter.com/aacnme