Nurse practitioners are independent medical workers who work as primary or specialty care providers in various care settings. They are expected to be highly competent, as they operate without supervision, and to lead the profession by conducting research, participating in evidence-based practice, and representing the profession to legislators and administrators. This paper discusses a professional development plan for an advanced practice nurse that the author will use to attain the qualification. It will discuss the scope of advanced practice in Florida, as different states treat the profession with varying degrees of trust, and it is vital to specify the limits on practitioners in individual locations. Next, it will list the core competencies and leadership that a nurse practitioner has to possess to excel at his or her job. The paper will demonstrate the author’s understanding of the topics above and intention to pursue a career in advanced practice nursing.
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APN Professional Development Plan
Florida’s laws with regards to licensing as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) are similar to those employed in most of the nation. According to “Licensure of advanced practice registered nurses“ (2018), the person who seeks the qualification must be certified by an appropriate specialty board, with graduation from a master’s program with a specialization in the required skills being a necessary prerequisite. The rest of the requirements are provided by individual boards and not mentioned in the law. The advanced practice registered nurse license is only valid within the state of Florida, and a practitioner will have to take additional steps to become able to practice elsewhere. Lastly, an APRN license has to be periodically renewed through a repeat examination by the same board that issued it.
A master’s degree is the only provision that is outlined in the law as a necessary prerequisite, and so a nurse who intends to obtain a nurse practitioner license should work toward obtaining it first. When selecting a master’s program, he or she should select the appropriate courses that prepare him or her by providing education on the competencies that are required of the profession. As he or she learns and works, he or she may learn more about the specific requirements of the certification board and prepare for the examination thoroughly. Learning about the experiences of current nurse practitioners would help, as they can help the person identify areas in which his or her competencies may be lacking. After graduation, he or she will be able to request certification by the board, and after passing it, he or she will obtain the license.
APN Scope of Practice
While the requirements for obtaining an advanced practice nursing license in Florida are similar to those in many other states, its laws with regards to the scope of practice are highly strict. “Licensure of advanced practice registered nurses“ (2018) makes supervision by a physician mandatory regardless of whether the practitioner intends to work at a facility or operate independently. The necessity limits their ability to operate, especially in rural environments, where there are no physicians nearby, and the population may struggle to reach the nearest clinic and have poor health as a result. The circumstances that surround the supervision, such as the need to inform patients of when the physician will and will not be in the office, further undermine the nurse practitioner’s authority. They create the appearance that the practitioner is not competent to address the patients’ issues, which is compounded by the restrictions on his or her ability to operate.
Prescriptive authority is a significant point of contention for nurse advocates in Florida. “Licensure of advanced practice registered nurses“ (2018) restricts the practice of nurse practitioners by only permitting them to manage specific issues, order and manage therapies, monitor patients, and make treatment recommendations. They do not have prescriptive authority, which is vital for independent operation, and, according to Tracy and O’Grady (2019), Florida is the only state in the nation to employ such a policy. Other varieties of advanced practice registered nurses in the state do not have the authority, either, except for specific circumstances. However, nurses in the state have been trying to change the situation for the better by proposing laws that would address the restrictions on advanced practice nurses. Their efforts may succeed in the future and increase the scope of practice for nursing practitioners.
Nurse Practitioner (NONPF) Core Competencies
The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) maintains an extensive list of competencies that are essential for a nurse practitioner. The author of this paper has identified two areas of particular strength for them as well as two areas where they are weakest. The first two are listed by Thomas et al. (2017) as technology and information literacy competencies and practice inquiry competencies. The author is acquainted with a large selection of modern electronic devices and the principles of operation of their software. As such, they are capable of integrating new technologies into work, even though they may not be competent to create such technologies at the moment. Besides, they can apply new knowledge into practice without significant difficulty and approach patient issues and treatments inquisitively. As such, they can learn during their work and use the knowledge to create proposals for evidence-based practice.
However, the author also struggles with a part of the list provided by the organization and will aim to improve their capacity in those areas. Thomas et al. (2017) name these areas health delivery system competencies and independent practice competencies. The author does not have sufficient experience to know the entire organizational structure of a care provider in detail and be able to navigate it. According to Tracy and O’Grady (2019), the category is not considered a part of APRN competencies in Florida. As such, it may be challenging for them to discern issues and offer improvements to organizational efficiency. Similarly, the author has never practiced independently and cannot express confidence in their ability to do so. However, they will try to deepen their knowledge and prepare for independent practice by gaining experience and learning about the necessary skills from existing workers.
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Leadership is essential to an advanced practice nurse, who represents the profession on even ground with other medical workers. The author has chosen three competencies as listed by Thomas et al. (2017): critical and reflective thinking, development and implementation of innovation, and effective oral and written knowledge communication. These abilities support the author’s strengths, and so they will attempt to cultivate them. As such, the paper will list two strategies that can be used for their development below.
Collaboration and group work are viable approaches to the development of critical thinking, as they allow a person to see other’s viewpoints and evaluate them. Through teamwork, the author intends to learn to recognize when they or their colleagues are incorrect through reflection and consideration. Alfaro-LeFevre (2017) highlights the importance of self-efficacy in the development of critical thinking. It is essential to learn to recognize one’s failings while remaining competent and believing in one’s ability to achieve the objective before them.
The author intends to learn to introduce innovation through practical experience by attempting to promote new ideas in the workplace. By suggesting new and unique approaches, the author will learn the proper procedures and the obstacles that interfere with their adoptions. They will then determine the best ways to circumvent those issues and ensuring that the improvement is utilized throughout the facility. Possibly, more importantly, they will learn about the process necessary to determine whether an innovation is viable and deserves implementation.
The creation of the plan has helped the author understand the competencies required of a nurse practitioner. They intend to continue with their education and receive a master’s degree while obtaining other necessary competencies in the process. Then, they will apply to the certification board and undergo the examination, obtaining the qualification upon success. The author has also learned about the difficulties advanced practice nurses face in Florida, such as the requirement for supervision and the lack of prescriptive authority. As a nursing practitioner, the author will work to convince the legislator body to change these laws and accommodate the profession. Lastly, the author has determined that while they have some strengths, there are also some weaknesses in their competencies. They will work to address those alongside improving their leadership skills with specific strategies.
Alfaro-LeFevre, R. (2017). Critical thinking, clinical reasoning and clinical judgment: A practical approach. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
Thomas, A., Crabtree, M. K., Delaney, K., Dumas, M. A., Kleinpell, R., Marfell, J., …, & Wolf, A. (2017). Nurse practitioner core competencies content. Retrieved from .
Tracy, M. F., & O’Grady, E. T. (2019). Hamric and Hanson’s advanced practice nursing – e-book: An integrative approach (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.