An Advanced Practice Nurse Professional Development Plan

Topic: Nursing
Words: 1500 Pages: 5

Introduction

In modern conditions of the healthcare system, the problem of professional development of medical personnel is extremely important. The solution to it includes the continuous expansion of the nurse’s potential, their professional growth, and the progress of their career. To ensure that the nurse knows about their potential opportunities, it is recommended to create a personal individual development plan. Challenges and milestones associated with the chosen career path are established in this plan, offering the nurse a comprehensive overview of their prospects. The purpose of this paper is to review the state-approved requirements and competencies an advanced practice nurse needs to fulfill before becoming a licensed specialist.

Advanced Practice Nurse Scope of Practice

Educational Requirements

Overall, the APN scope of practice helps develop a plan for a future career: what steps need to be taken after graduation, which competencies are required for successful work, and how generally the nurse should progress. Advanced practice education in role and specialty is crucial here, as it offers more specialized academic and clinical skills. Dickerson and Bernard (2018) also add that “any post-licensure education that supports the ongoing development of the registered nurse is considered to be continuing nursing education” (p. 20). There are many opportunities to enhance one’s knowledge, and educational requirements offer a general plan on how to do it.

License Requirements

After completing my nursing education, I will need to apply for a license at the Texas Board of Nursing. According to the Texas Board of Nursing official website (2021), I will need to submit my U.S. Social Security Number through an online application form and pay a $150 administrative fee. The Board of Nursing will also check my eligibility by investigating my criminal and disciplinary history, as well as my education – I must complete a post-basic advanced program first. To renew my license later, I will have to apply for renewal on the Texas Board of Nursing Website after making sure I meet the current practice requirements.

Regulatory Requirements

Texas Board of Nursing regulates all processes associated with advanced nursing practice. However, the nurse should also apply for a national certificate after obtaining an APRN license, as it specifically evaluates core APRN nurses’ knowledge and competencies concerning certain specializations and population focus. The application fee for the national certificate is $139 and must be paid to the Texas Board of Nursing (Nursing Licensure 2021). Moreover, later the candidate will need to pay an additional $200 to the Pearson testing company for the actual examination (Nursing Licensure 2021). This is the only certification that APNs need in Texas, and it is strictly necessary for every nurse.

Practice Authority

APRN professionals in Texas do not have full practice authority on their own – only a reduced one under the supervision of a physician they have a legal contract. This means that nurses can provide limited medical assistance to the population, and do not have access to treating mental disorders, cancer, chronic diseases, and other serious illnesses. Still, the nurse’s scope of practice and authorized services depend on their specialization and population focus.

Prescriptive Authority

Texas’s APRN nurses can only prescribe drugs under the supervision of a physician and in strict adherence to state guidelines. In hospital facilities, nurses can prescribe Schedule II substances that have a high potential for abuse due to their addictive qualities. Such substances may include amphetamine and methamphetamine, amobarbital, and glutethimide. However, to obtain prescriptive authority, a nurse needs to apply for and maintain an additional prescription certificate that is specific to their role and population focus.

Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies

Personally Strong Competency Areas

NONPF has provided a set of nurse practitioner core competencies as a golden standard of nursing practice. One of those competencies is the scientific foundation prowess which encompasses the ability to gather, analyze, and implement into practice relevant research findings and data to ensure an evidence-based approach. The nurse should be able to critically assess the data they encounter, and I believe it might be the most important core competence. I think that I am personally strong at this competence, as I constantly use and develop my critical thinking skills, as well as try to immerse in the scientific readings in my chosen area of study.

Another core competence I think I have grown rather skilled at is quality. It directly relates to the scientific foundation, as to gain access to relevant data, one needs to professionally employ research databases. This specific ability allows the nurse to apply the information they learned with their scientific prowess to evaluate and develop findings from other research. Moreover, quality competence also helps me understand how various policies and legal peculiarities work in regulating nurses’ professional performance.

Competency Areas Where There Is Room for Growth

The health outcomes of a patient depend greatly on whether the patient is trusting the nurse with their care, adhering to the treatment and recommendations as much as possible. This can only be achieved through nurses’ mastering of the health delivery system’s core competencies – specifically, their cultural aspect. Kaihlanen et al. (2019) explicitly state that “a lack of cultural understanding increases negative attitudes towards cross-cultural care and also affects healthcare professionals’ perceived preparedness to take care of culturally diverse patients” (p. 2). Proper cultural care includes a deep understanding of different social insights from a wide variety of national backgrounds combined with immersive knowledge of the most important traditions and particular qualities of various communities.

My experience of working with a diverse patient population makes me understand that to employ proper care one, indeed, must master ethical competencies, as well. The ethical basis of the professional activity of a nurse lies in the concepts of humanity and mercy. Markey (2020) makes a good point that “examining cultural competence development through a moral reasoning lens can help empower nurses” (p. 2). Thus, I strive to learn as much as possible about the various aspects of ethical approaches so that I can employ this knowledge in my future work.

Scholarly Activities to Help Achieve NP Competencies

Continuous education is key in ensuring culturally, ethically, and evidence-based quality care. A partnering educational practice I find useful is shared faculty – a setting, in which a nurse operates both as a clinical assistant and an academic educator. Shinners (2019) claims that “it helped to introduce clinical nurses to the role of adjunct faculty who can maintain clinical competence while teaching others, and provided a closer connection between clinical practice and academia” (p. 191). In this setting, I could operate as a mentor to bachelor’s degree-level nurses in a hospital setting, helping them learn practical knowledge. In my opinion, this practice can positively affect my ability to continue my education, as well as help build a strong network of mutual help between me and my colleagues.

Leadership Skills

Three Leadership Skills Required to Lead in Complex Systems

The first leadership skill that I will require in my practice is, indeed, communication. In a globalized world, communication is crucial to ensure the constant flow of knowledge and experience between nursing professionals. Moreover, well-developed communication skills allow the nurse to effectively manage both the operations of their department and exchanges with patients and their families. From there, the skill of resolving conflicts also arises – the nurse must be able to effectively recognize and prevent possible conflict situations that may occur during practice. Finally, emotional intelligence completes the picture – both communication and conflict resolution will become easier if the nurse constantly develops empathy and awareness.

Two Strategies to Help Develop NP Leadership Skills

Leadership skills and potential growth from the continuous development of one’s personal qualities and confidence. This can only be achieved through constant education and practice, during which a nurse acquires the experience and practical knowledge necessary for being an established and esteemed professional. According to Price and Reichert (2017), “adequate training and orientation when starting their career, and continuing education throughout their career, are of significant importance to student nurses” (p. 4). Lifelong learning ensures that nurse develops not only extended knowledge about their designated area of medicine but also follows the trends of leadership styles and requirements. Mentoring is another strategy that can help nurse develop their leadership skills through education, as it offers an opportunity to teach and learn at the same time.

Conclusion

The professional development of nurses is one of the most important conditions for the success of any healthcare organization, as nurses remain at the forefront of medical service. It also has a positive impact on the nurses themselves, increasing their competitiveness in the labor market and providing additional opportunities for professional growth both within their healthcare facility and outside it. Personal development planning underlies a successful career, high-quality and conscientious performance of one’s duties, as well as the potential for achieving great results. Therefore, to better their chances at success, nurses need to establish a detailed path for their future education, job choices, and necessary career requirements that will serve as a base for their growth.

References

Dickerson, P. S., & Bernard, A. (2018). What’s in a word? Understanding terms in continuing nursing education and professional Ddevelopment. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 49(1), 19–25.

Kaihlanen, A.-M., Hietapakka, L., & Heponiemi, T. (2019). Increasing cultural awareness: Qualitative study of nurses’ perceptions about cultural competence training. BMC Nursing, 18(1).

Markey, K. (2020). Moral reasoning as a catalyst for cultural competence and culturally responsive care. Nursing Philosophy, 22(1).

Nursing Licensure. (2021). APRN license requirements in Texas: How to become a nurse practitioner in Texas

Price, S., & Reichert, C. (2017). The importance of continuing professional development to career satisfaction and patient care: Meeting the needs of novice to mid- to late-career nurses throughout their career span. Administrative Sciences, 7(2), 17.

Shinners, J. (2019). Continuing education and professional development: Making the connection. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 50(5), 191–192.

Texas Board of Nursing. (2021). Frequently asked questions – advanced practice registered nurse. Web.

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