ARPN Professional Development Plan

ARPN Professional Development Plan

Introduction

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNP) is a current trend in the delivery of healthcare in the USA. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners provides a detail of the services that nurse practitioners (NP) can provide. Specifically, the NP may order diagnostic studies, diagnose and manage ailments, prescribe medications, and provide necessary medical education to patients and their families (AANP, 2013). However, advanced practice nurses’ scope of practice varies based on the state in which they serve. Throughout this paper, the scope of practice for nurse practitioners in my preferred state of practice, leadership skills, and the NONPF competencies areas of personal strengths and areas for growth will be discussed.

Scope of Practice

Upon graduation, I desire to practice in the state of Florida. In the state of Florida, the practice of nursing is regulated by both the Medicine and the nursing board. Also in this state, the nursing practice is restricted, which is the most limiting form of regulation (Toney-Butler & Martin, 2019). This simply means that the nursing practitioner can only engage in a specified scope of work. That said, the nursing practitioner cannot participate in other areas of healthcare specialties without direction or delegation from a senior healthcare provider such as a physician or a dentist. Such restriction prevents the nursing practitioners from realizing their fullest potential since they undergo immense training in their prime years of education.

The Board of Nursing and the Board of Medicine in Florida mandates that the ARNP should hold an RN degree, ARNP Master’s degree, and national certification from an accredited nursing organization as a requirement for licensure and practice. The American Medical Association reports that a Medical Doctor (MD) must supervise an ARNP with no more than four satellite offices in a primary care setting (AANP, 2013). Additionally, they report that to obtain a working position as an ARNP, the hiring company must specifically outline the ARNP’s areas of practice including inclusions of practice and exclusions of practice which must be approved by the board of nursing before the start of employment.

The prescriptive authority also differs from state to state. Looking at the state of Florida, prescriptive authority for the nurse practitioner is defined in Florida statute (Toney-Butler & Martin, 2019). According to this statute, the nursing practitioner may prescribe drugs ranging from schedule II through IV by reaching a supervisory arrangement with a physician. Considering this, NPs must be equipped for the legal and professional accountability that comes with prescribing medications.

The Florida Board of Nursing further outlines the exact compliance needs for continued education (CE) for the ARNP’s. They are similar to those of RN requirements with some additions including 32 hours of CE’s upon first receiving licensure (Toney-Butler & Martin, 2019). Every 2 years, the ARNP must also complete 18 General CE’s approved by the state board as a requirement for renewal of licensure.

Core Competencies

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) developed the core competencies of nursing practice, which are the essential conducts which all nursing practitioners should possess. Arguably, these competencies are vital for nursing practitioners to meet the complex challenges encountered in the constantly changing health care environment. Each of the core competencies is a means for the students to gain the knowledge, proficiencies, and aptitudes to practice as licensed independent practitioners. The demonstration of these competencies is evident upon graduation regardless of the medical specialty or patient population concentration they engage with. These nine areas of core competencies include scientific foundations, quality, independent practice, inquiry, technology and information literacy, leadership, policy, health delivery system, and ethics.

Areas of strength

I would consider the scientific foundation, information, and technology as the core competencies where my strength lies. The scientific foundation competency lays special emphasis on foundational knowledge, research, and theories (Thomas et al., 2017). As such, the NP’s should be in a position to utilize critical thinking and apply the aforementioned knowledge and skills in the provision of quality healthcare. This competency was instilled in us during the undergraduate program where we were introduced to concepts such as evidence-based research. Consequently, From undergraduate studies and now in my current practice, I have mastered the art of not only searching databases for current EBP but also to analyze, evaluate, critic, and apply them in the nursing practice. However, I believe there is adequate room for improvement to advance in these skills and knowledge on using theory and research to develop new approaches to nursing practice. Commitment coupled with discipline and hard work will go a long way in realization of this goal hence propelling me to become a top-notch advanced registered nurse practitioner.

The technology and information literacy competency involves the use of communication tools to effectively convey and interpret information. With the current trend of using the electronic medical record in hospital settings, I have been privileged to work in the electronic records department where I was involved in the documentation, storage, and update of patient information. It cannot go without saying that, communication is the foundation upon which rational decisions in healthcare are made (Thomas et al., 2017). Decision making in the nurse practice environment is a dynamic conceptual process in determining patient outcomes hence putting stamp to paper the importance of this competency.

Areas of growth

Two competencies that I would consider as areas of growth are policy and ethics. Advance registered practitioner nurses possess the skills and knowledge to drive, change, and create legislative policies to better improve healthcare delivery. The NONPF policy competency is formulated in such a way that the future NP has vast knowledge needed to influence healthcare reform policies (Thomas et al., 2017).  I soul searched and found that this is an essential area of personal growth owing to my limited knowledge of a nurse’s impact on policymaking.

Ethics competencies involve the ability to think through patients’ ethical dilemmas. This requires that all decisions regarding the care of patients are made with dire consideration of nursing ethics. To navigate through ethical dilemmas, a registered nurse should put in mind the cultural beliefs and biases that the patient’s case presents. The ability to demonstrate cultural humility can be an effective tool for navigating through the patients’ case scenario (Thomas et al., 2017). Even though this competency comes with loads of ethical complexities, I believe that it will go a long way to putting my mark in the nursing profession.

To achieve nursing practitioner competencies, I will engage in scholarly activities such as research initiatives and organizational membership during the master’s program.  Associating oneself with an active accredited organization increases one’s network, increases awareness on the role of advanced practice nurses and, provides one with current evidence-based practices.  For example, I intend to be a full member and participant of the Florida Council of Nurse Practitioners which aligns its goal with that of transforming healthcare. As a member, I will be privileged to grow in areas of policy and advocacy and having access to frequent journals and newsletters that will increase my knowledge and skills in the nursing field. My initiative to participate in research programs within and without the hospital will also play a pivotal role in molding me into an all-round nurse. This is because it will serve as a gateway for me to obtain exploratory skills from the research process and in the implementation of novel approaches in improving patient outcomes.

Leadership skills

The American health system is vast and highly flexible to change and as such, possessing the necessary leadership skills is essential to practitioners if not a requirement. The Three leadership skills that I can point out to be essential in effectively leading in healthcare are respect, decision-making, and strong communication skills (Johansen, & O’Brien, 2016). Foremost, respect is a critical leadership skill that every nurse practitioner should strive to possess.  Not only is it a key factor in teamwork but also a strong determinant in providing the best care for patients.

Communication is the act of exchanging verbal and non-verbal information to relay a message. Active listening is an essential component of the communication process. Strong communication skills assist nursing practitioners to actively engage in professional and patient collaboration (Scully, 2017). Ineffective communication skills can pose to be a menace in the delivery of healthcare since misinterpretations can occur ultimately leading to poor patient satisfaction.

Decision-making skill is crucial in nursing leadership. It encompasses making clinical decisions that direct the quality of care accorded to patients (Johansen, & O’Brien, 2016). One strategy that would help me to develop leadership skills while attending college would be to attend seminars that would expand my network and help me in picking mentors and role models in the field of nursing. The other strategy I could use to develop leadership skills is improving the aspects of effective communication. By communicating effectively, one can gain the trust of patients and colleagues (Scully, 2017). Further, it will aid in building personal confidence which can improve my engagement with stakeholders and colleagues further playing a part in driving organizational change.

Conclusion

Advanced practice nursing is the future of healthcare in providing cost-efficient holistic care to the community. Florida is where my future lies making it more important that I should possess the relevant skills. The nurse practitioners greatly influence the healthcare system because of foundational knowledge, leadership skills, advocacy, and evidence-based research to improve outcomes. Particularly, effective communication, decision making, and respect are essential for effective leadership.  The NONPF competency approach prepares future APN to function in the constantly changing, complex healthcare system. It is an expectation that the nurse should be competent in all the areas to provide patient-centered. I am glad I got the opportunity to learn about each core competency which enabled me to pick the strengths and areas of improvement. Developing these strategies will enable me to prepare myself for the future role of an ARPN.

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