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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Publishes New Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Competencies

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Publishes New
Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Competencies

NONPF-AACN Partnership Yields Consensus-Based NP Competencies

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 14, 2002 - The federal Division of Nursing, a branch of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently published a new set of primary care competencies for entry-level nurse practitioners (NP) in five practice areas. This publication, titled Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Competencies in Specialty Areas: Adult, Family, Gerontological, Pediatric, and Women's Health, is the result of a partnership between the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in collaboration with leaders in nursing practice, education, credentialing, and accreditation.

"These competencies set the national standard for guiding the specialty content of nurse practitioner program development in five primary care areas," said NONPF Project Director M. Katherine Crabtree, DNSc, APRN, BC. "This collaborative work provides a model for the future development of competencies for other specialty-focused nurse practitioner roles as well."

NONPF and AACN directed this federally-funded project to develop national, consensus-based nurse practitioner competencies in five common specialties. The core skill mix for nurse practitioner graduates builds upon nursing knowledge and requires graduate education to achieve an advanced level of nursing practice. These specialty competencies build on a set of core competencies that pertain to all NP specialties and focus on diagnosis and management content appropriate to the population served, clinical practice, and the role emphasis within the specialty area. The project was undertaken to lay the foundation for identification of competencies in all areas of nurse practitioner primary care practice and to promote high quality and consistency in educational programs.

"These new competencies set the gold standard for maintaining and shaping quality nursing education programs at the graduate level," said AACN President Kathleen Ann Long, PhD, RNCS, FAAN. "These specialty competencies offer potential employers, consumers, and students a clear set of expectations regarding the entry-level nurse practitioner role and the primary areas of specialty practice."

Nurse practitioner competencies were identified by a national panel including organizations that represent the five specialty areas (Adult, Family, Gerontological, Pediatric, and Women's Health), as well as credentialing and certifying agencies. A validation panel composed of leaders from nursing practice, education and accreditation organizations confirmed the relevance of the national panel's work.

This publication has been distributed to all colleges and universities around the country with nurse practitioner programs, as well as individual faculty in these programs. The publication is also available on the Internet. To order free copies of the printed report, contact the HRSA clearinghouse at 1-888-ASK-HRSA. To access the report via the Web, see AACN's Web site at or NONPF's Web site at


The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties provides leadership in promoting quality nurse practitioner education at the national and international levels. Through the support of the development of instructional skills and scientific investigation in nurse practitioner education, NONPF serves the public interest by assuring the preparation of highly qualified health care professionals. Since its founding in 1976, NONPF has grown into a strong organization representing over 1,100 faculty members at institutions from across the country.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 580 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.


Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231