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National Task Force Releases New Criteria for Quality Nurse Practitioner Education (6th edition)

The new criteria, 2022 Standards for Quality Nurse Practitioner Education (6th edition), provide national standards for the development and assessment of Nurse Practitioner graduate programs. In the context of rapid advancements in science and nursing’s enduring commitment to safe and ethical practice, the updated criteria aim to ensure that NP programs’ curricula and clinical experiences prepare graduate students for best practice in today’s environment. These criteria will inform the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s future reviews of program accreditation.*

A task force convened by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) updated the criteria through a rigorous review process, which resulted in consensus around the recommendations. The task force drew on feedback from stakeholder organizations, listening sessions, survey data, current program practices, health care professions’ requirements, complexity of patient treatment needs, and existing regulations. The APNA Board of Directors endorsed the criteria earlier this month, in which endorse means “a general philosophical agreement with the content and intent.”

Here is a summary of themes and updates in the criteria relevant to PMH-NP education:

  • There is an increased emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in program policies and practices.
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists continue to be authorized to provide oversight of PMH-NP programs.
  • Resources necessary to sustain a quality NP program, including fiscal, human, student support services, learning, and physical/technology resources are stressed.
    • Programs must have a direct connection in the process of preceptorships. This is the responsibility of the college/university, not the student.
  • Recognition of simulation as an important methodology to support learning and assessment, particularly for developing competencies prior to precepted direct care experiences.
  • A requirement for 750 clinical hours of direct patient care, based on review and evaluation of preceptor and student survey data, current clinical hours requirements, etc.

As a participant on the task force, APNA provided critical input throughout the two-year process. A major focus was to ensure that PMH-CNSs continue to be authorized to oversee PMH-NP programs. APNA also provided feedback around the changes in clinical hours requirements, including the importance of simulation, and the need to examine their implementation and the impact on education delivery and resources. This is particularly important given current workforce and clinical placement issues across the profession and especially within psychiatric-mental health nursing.

As it moves forward, the task force plans to monitor and evaluate new evidence in simulation and other teaching methodologies. The task force will also develop FAQs regarding implementation timeline considerations and other frequently asked questions. APNA will keep you updated as more information and resources become available!

For more information, please see this press release from AACN.

*Implementation of recommendations will occur over several years. We anticipate more information will be shared in the FAQ.