There has been much talk in recent years about the lack of conformity in the way advanced practice nurses are educated and licensed. This has led to difficulties for nurses as they change employers or move to new locations, as well as difficulties for organizations in establishing credentialing processes.
In 2008, the national consensus project of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and 20 nursing specialty groups, including the Oncology Nursing Society, issued a position statement establishing new criteria for the licensing, accreditation, certification, and education of advanced practice nurses known as LACE. This model recognizes four roles for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs): certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse-midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and certified nurse practitioner (CNP).
APRNs are educated in one of these four roles and in at least one of six population foci: family/individual across the lifespan, adult-gerontology, pediatrics, neonatal, women’s health/gender-related, or psych/mental health. Under this model, nurses with more specific clinical specialties, such as oncology, must obtain certification in one of the six focus areas, and then may also seek added certification in the specialty if desired.
The process of implementing this model, with accompanying changes in state licensure regulations, has begun in most locations. Many schools of nursing have either dropped their specialty programs or had to revise curricula in order to adequately prepare students for certification. The LACE model will effectively address the need for more consistency in regulation of advanced practice across state boundaries. However, it has the potential to discourage specialty preparation, as schools struggle to avoid extending the length of graduate programs and the associated costs of preparing students in both the general population areas and a specialty.
This article was written by Barbara Daly, and has been republished with permission from the OncLive website.