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Advanced Practice Educational Toolkit

APRN programs must meet national accreditation standards. Curriculums are developed based on core competencies established by clinical subject matter and educational experts. Typically curriculums include a "core" set of courses applicable to any APRN, regardless of setting, specialty, or population, and specialty courses that help prepare the student for successfully passing the certification exam based on a population focus.

It is difficult find a master’s program with a perioperative focus. This can be perceived as a barrier to obtaining knowledge which could then be applied to this specialty. However, with a little creativity, perioperative implications can be gleaned from any APRN course. See our CNS Sample Curriculum and NP Sample Curriculum for examples of how course material can be applied to the perioperative setting.

Not every school will meet requirements for an advanced practice program which will prepare students for licensure and a certification exam. When investigating possible programs, look for the following important components:

  • The program operates within or is affiliated with an institution of higher education.
  • The program is accredited by a nursing accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (i.e. CCNE or NLNAC).
  • Faculty and preceptors hold the appropriate credentials, experience, and education to teach and/or supervise students in an advanced practice course.
  • The 3 P's (advanced physical assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology) are included in the core curriculum.
  • Graduates are prepared to practice in the APRN role and be successful on a national certification exam appropriate to the population-focused area.
  • Curriculum prepares student for state licensure as an APRN (either CNS or NP).
  • The appropriate number of clinical hours is included in the program (minimum of 500 clock hours; more may be required for specialties that provide care to multiple age groups or care settings).
  • Nationally recognized NP and CNS core competencies are incorporated into the curriculum

References

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). CCNE accredited graduate nursing programs. Retrieved Jan. 11, 2012 from http://apps.aacn.nche.edu/CCNE/reports/accprog.asp

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). (2011, March 21). The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing. Retrieved Dec. 14, 2011 from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/MastersEssentials11.pdf

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing. Retrieved Dec. 14, 2011 from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/MasEssentials96.pdf

National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission,  Inc.  NLNAC accredited graduate nursing programs. Retrieved Jan. 11, 2012 from http://nlnac.org/Forms/directory_search.htm

National Task Force on the Guidelines for Clinical Nurse Specialist Education. (2011, May 2). Criteria for the evaluation of Clinical Nurse Specialist Master’s, Practice Doctorate, and Post-Master’s Certificate Educational Programs. Retrieved Dec. 14, 2011 from http://www.nacns.org/docs/CNSEducationCriteria.pdf