Licensing Accreditation Certification Education

APRN Consensus Model
Endorsed by the APNA Board of Directors, October, 2010. This page includes a summary of The Consensus Model for APRN: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification & Education, the full document, and a Q&A.
APRN Licensing & Certification
Documents and links concerning licensing and certification. Download the APRN-PMH Licensing Manual, the Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Competencies, find links to ANCC and the DEA and more!
ANCC Discounts & Links
Through our partnership with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), APNA members receive discounts on ANCC psychiatric certification exams and on certification renewal.
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APNA Position Statement:  Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurses
Approved by the APNA Board of Directors in October 2010. Examines the role of Psych APRNs, both Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists.
National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education: Criteria for Evaluation of NP Programs
Endorsed by APNA in August 2012, this revised criteria provides a basis for evaluating nurse practitioner programs across the United States.
Essentials of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing in the BSN Curriculum (pdf)
Developed by the ISPN Education Council Task Force in April 2005. An APNA Task Force updated the document in 2007 and an APNA/ISPN Task Force continued the update in 2008.
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An Introduction to LACE
Most of the questions that come to the APNA Board and staff center on one or more aspects of licensing, accreditation, certification or education, or LACE. Curiosity is good; action would be even better. To say that LACE is confusing and inconsistent is an understatement. In a changing landscape, advanced-practice nurses, those who educate them and those who strive for advanced practice must understand the differences among these terms. As members of this professional organization, you must know how APNA is involved in changes and recognize how you can be involved in improving LACE.

Just to ensure that we are on the same page:

  • Licensure is how a member of a profession is granted the ability to practice. State agencies and the legislature define advanced-practice nursing, decide who can prescribe and determine the requirements for licensure.
  • Accreditation is the process of evaluating schools of nursing and their programs nationwide. Accrediting bodies have published essentials for advanced-practice education.
  • Certification concerns the evaluation of an individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities in a specialty. For most states, one component of advanced-practice licensure is certification. Licensure and certification, however, are separate processes.
  • Education refers to advanced-practice educational programs at the master’s post-master’s and doctoral levels and is intertwined with certification and accreditation. At this point, psychiatric mental health nurses are educated as either clinical nurse specialists or nurse practitioners. A small number of PMH programs are “blended,” educating nurses as both clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners.

How does all this relate to you? For several years, nursing organizations, including ours, have been meeting to clarify the murky territory of advanced-practice nursing. The product of these meetings, The Consensus Model for APRN: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification & Education, strives to do so. Learn more by clicking on the links above.

The lack of consistency and clarity in the titles used to regulate advanced practice nurses at the state level hurts nurses’ ability to move to and practice in different states. Although all of the work cited above represents efforts to clarify and standardize LACE, the regulation of nursing practice is still determined by states’ nurse practice acts and associated rules and regulations. Imagine how much influence we as a profession could have if each state chapter would set as a goal the gubernatorial appointment of one APNA member to each state board of nursing.

AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC NURSES ASSOCIATION and APNA-Logoare registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as trademarks of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.