Joanne Pohl: NPs have national competencies. Those competencies are now used and required when every program in Michigan (and nationally) is accredited by one of the two national Department of Education accreditors (NLNAC/National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission or CCNE/Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education). And, before a new program can start, it must be approved by the above national accreditors to ensure they are following national guidelines and competencies.
The national Board exams that Nurse Practitioners take after graduating (the certification process in regulation) and required in Michigan for one to be legally titled as a nurse practitioner are now based on the same national competencies.
And finally, our educational programs use the same national competencies to develop our curricula. We have come full circle, except for the last step, that of state licensure and regulation in Michigan. We prepare our students to diagnose and treat patients within their scope or area of practice. In fact, we are required to do so.
Students have to demonstrate that they are successful at their full scope of practice independently in order to graduate and pass certification exams that measure the scope and competency REQUIRED of them. (They cannot pick up the phone and call a physician in the middle of their educational exams or national Board exams to find out if they are on track).
Yet, once they graduate and pass their national Board exams, they may need to practice very differently, depending on the state in which they practice. This is not because of their preparation, but because of the mish mash of different state regulations that are not based on evidence but based on long held, out of date, beliefs and policies.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.