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Message From the President

Pediatric Nursing

Scope and Standards of Practice—APSNAs Practice Framework

Pasarón, Raquel DNP, ARNP FNP-BC

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Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing: January/March 2016 - Volume 5 - Issue 1 - p 2-3
doi: 10.1097/JPS.0000000000000085
  • Free

Over the years, members have asked about the possibility of a certification for Pediatric Surgical Nursing. In response to the membership’s request for certification, a work group was formed in 2011 to develop the Scope and Standards of Pediatric Surgical Nursing. Muggs Helin, Past President (2009–2010), led that group, and a document was drafted and submitted to the American Nurses Association (ANA). ANA would need to recognize and certify us as a specialty practice nursing organization; once certified, we could begin the process of developing a certification process for our members. This is a costly process, but one that we, as an organization, were committed to actualizing. Our first draft was not accepted, and an attempt was made to determine what the barriers were and resubmit our application. On the basis of our defined Scope of Practice, it was thought that we did not meet the definition of a specialty practice organization, but rather a subspecialty. The rationale initially given by ANA was that some of our members practice within the perioperative setting and many practice in clinics, critical care units, and in-patient setting. Many of us cover all practice settings where pediatric surgical patients and their families are cared for. This complicates the way we articulate who we are and has the potential to create liability issues where the standards of various practice settings and other organizations overlapped. The question would be to what standards would our members be held accountable to particularly if they were inconsistent with that of other groups. Although ANA sympathized with us, they have asserted that, given our scope of practice and given the fact that currently they have no process for certification for subspecialty practice organizations, they would not be able to consider our application at this time. Unfortunately, without certification as a specialty practice organization, the option to take the next step to providing a certification process for Pediatric Surgical Nursing through ANA will not be possible. This was and is a source of disappointment for us and especially to those who worked so tirelessly on our original document and those who were committed to its revision.

ANA suggested that we work with a group who was currently reviewing and revising the Scope and Standards of Pediatric Nursing in an effort to create a more robust document that includes the various subspecialties within that broader Scope of Practice. And so we did, having Carmel McComiskey and Pam Pieper, both APSNA past presidents, work on the Pediatric Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition, which addresses the expectations of all pediatric nurses and specifies the who, what, when, where, why, and how of their practice. APSNA therefore identifies this document as the overarching framework for our practice, although we appreciate that it does not encompass the full gamut of our practice environments. We should use these scope and standards to build competencies specific to registered nurses and advance practice nursing in the pediatric surgery area, use the document as the substantive educational foundation that provides insight to our membership and consumers, and then apply it to practice and ask ourselves how is this integrated into education, preceptorship, and membership orientation to our organization (specialty). Our 2015–2018 Strategic Plan ( supports this endeavor. I encourage you to share your expertise and knowledge with families, stakeholders, students, work groups, communication mediums, and policy makers—we welcome you to become reenergized by being involved with APSNA as we embark on this journey; together we can make a difference—remember, “We are ONE heart!”

Copyright © 2016 American Pediatric Surgical Nursing Association