I had the great fortune of being the NACNS representative at two meetings in early May. They were both held in Chicago and sponsored by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
The first meeting was the APRN Roundtable meeting which is held on an annual basis and is sponsored by the NCSBN. It is intended to be a meeting of the state boards of nursing and various stakeholder groups that are interested in issues relevant to advanced practice nursing. This meeting fell on the heels of the NCSBN APRN Summit that was held in San Diego in March so there were not as many questions as there may have been based on the fact that many of them were answered at the San Diego meeting. It has become very clear to me that the focus of many of the states is really on the Nurse Practitioners. I have been surprized by the number of issues that are unclear and are inconsistent with the states in regards to NPs. That means, fortunately or unfortunately, there is little to no focus on the CNS issues.
How is that fortunate? It means that there is work being done to systematize the process for APRNs...CNSs can benefit from this...BUT you must be engaged in the process in your state. The states are using the term APRN so that means that CNS is included...be actively engaged in what is happening in your state EVEN IF YOU PERCEIVE THAT IT IS ONLY AN NP ISSUE. Yes...I was yelling.
Some of the critical issues for CNSs that I heard being discussed were as follows:
1) "We don't have any CNSs" or alternatively "We don't know who our CNSs are"
2) "They don't have national certification so they can't be CNSs"
Both of these are problematic. You must let your state board of nursing know who you are, what you do, how important it is for your patients that you do what you do, and why you are passionate about being recognized as a CNS and APRN. If you do not do this....your role may disappear. Do you really want that?
The second issue is being worked on for many of you who cannot meet the current requirements for certification...we do not yet have "The Answer" but it is coming and we could certainly use your assistance in ensuring the plan will meet your needs.
That was the NCSBN meeting...the next day was a meeting of the LACE organization...perhaps the last face to face meeting if the APRN LACE web site is fully engaged and activated by the time the next meeting is planned. Many of the topics of discussion were repeated content from prior meetings that were previously decided...we thought. It is good though to get these decisions made officially and reflected in the minutes of the meeting so that all have a point of reference to refer back to when needed. One of the decisions made was in reference to certification. If you have it...DO NOT LET IT LAPSE! In many instances you will no longer qualify to take the exam itself. If you let your current certification lapse you will have to meet the current requirements for certification if you want to re-take the test. If your test no longer exists (an unfortunate reality for many CNS examinations) you will not have the option of retaking the test...If your certification lapses and you cannot take the test again you will no longer be able to be licensed as a CNS...that could be devastating.
Be aware...be aware...beware....
I hate being the voice of doom and gloom but I want you to know what the realities are so that you can make informed decisions. Know what you are deciding when you make your choice.
Questions? Comments? Let allof us know what you are curious about...let's discuss further.