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Adult-Gerontology APRN Education Project

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Retooling NP & CNS Curricula: Implementing the New Adult-Gerontology APRN Education Requirements in Your Program

The national Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education (LACE), finalized in 2008, defines advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and standardized requirements for each of the four APRN regulatory components included in LACE. Under this regulatory model, now endorsed by 45 national nursing organizations, the certified nurse practitioner (NP) and clinical nurse specialist (CNS) must be prepared with the core APRN and role competencies in addition to national consensus-based competencies for one of six population foci: family/individual across the lifespan, adult-gerontology, pediatric, neonatal, women’s health/gender-related or psychiatric/mental health.

Under the Model, education programs currently preparing adult or gerontology NPs and CNSs must expand their curriculum to prepare graduates to provide comprehensive care to the entire adult population, which includes the young adult through the older adult and frail elderly. The transition to the new model of education across the adult life span will require the redesign, and in some instances, combination of adult and gerontology programs to provide the student learner with the knowledge and skills to care for adults through the entire age span.  NPs and CNSs educated through these programs will hold the title Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, or Adult-Gerontology CNS. Consequently, the current Adult NP and CNS programs will need significant revision, including both didactic and clinical components, to ensure that graduates educated for this combined population focus have significant exposure to gerontology content and experiences.  In addition, in the near future all graduates of these NP and CNS programs will be required to obtain national certification as an Adult-Gerontology clinician in order to be licensed to practice as an APRN. 

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, in collaboration with the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing, had developed the APRN Resource Center to provide Primary and Acute Care Adult NP, Adult CNS faculty, and other faculty preparing NPs or CNSs to care for older adults, (e.g. FNPs, WHNPs, Women’s Health CNSs), with multiple resources and strategies to make this transition. The resources include unfolding case studies, learning modules, and curricular models.

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