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Planning for graduation starts prior to enrollment in your nurse practitioner (NP) program. You your unique university as well as your specialty tract. These are the two big steps in this process. You had to do some research on what specific program met your educational needs. Do you prefer in class or on-line learning? What are the university’s statistics regarding program completion, board certification, and availability of clinical placements? Are you obtaining a Masters in Nursing or Doctorate of Nursing Practice? Other factors such as proximity, class size, and cost probably played a role in your decision as well. You also have spent a great deal of self-reflection contemplating what area of practice you wanted to go into. None of these decisions are taken lightly. You have made a decision regarding your future nursing career.

Realistically, the true planning for graduation starts at the time you enroll in your NP program. Although graduation may not always be at the forefront of your daily thoughts, it should be with you as you progress through your academic program. By keeping your “eye on graduation” you will stay organized and keep track of various educational materials that will be required both at and after graduation. Copies of course syllabi and documentation of clinical hours and procedures are just a few of the items you will want to include in a database early on in your NP program. You may choose to store your data as hard copies, electronically, or both. Keeping this information in a designated area, such as using it to start your portfolio, is a great way for the initial organizing of this important data. There are several areas that will be great resources to guide your practice. They have already been utilized in shaping your NP program. These three areas are the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Consensus Model,1 the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) competencies,2 and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) NP Curriculum Guidelines and Core Competencies.3


In 2008 the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation was released by the AACN. AACN and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) facilitated the consensus building used to develop this model. One of the goals of the Consensus Model was to provide state-to-state uniformity in the regulation of APRN roles. As long as continued differences are allowed to occur between states, obstacles to license portability exist. The Consensus Model for APRNs is a document that describes the APRN regulatory model, identifies titles to be used, defines specialty, describes the emergence of new roles and population foci, and presents strategies for implementation.1

The Consensus Model for APRN Regulation defines advanced practice registered nurse practice and describes emergence of new roles and population foci.1 Often referred to as LACE (licensure, accreditation, certification, and education), this ...

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