1. Di Leonardi, Bette Case PhD, RN, NPD-BC

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Advanced nursing professional development (NPD) certification is coming soon! Thanks to the Association for Nursing Professional Development's (ANPD) Advanced NPD Certification Steering Task Force's hard work. Also, the Steering Task Force sought input from many other NPD specialists. After months of discussing and refining the requirements, advanced NPD certification will be launched soon.

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In 2019, ANPD partnered with the Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) to develop the advanced NPD certification. ANPD provided subject matter expertise for the certification development process, and CCI will manage the administration of the certification.


Over the past year, the Steering Task Force, which consisted of 11 NPD specialists and a representative from CCI, has been providing oversight for 4 workgroups to define eligibility, portfolio requirements, portfolio scoring, and additional resources. Each workgroup consists of four additional NPD specialists who are refining the processes for advanced NPD certification and making recommendations to the Steering Task Force. The Steering Task Force members are carefully considering the perspective of the candidate to create a candidate-friendly process.


This editorial answers some of the questions that prospective advanced NPD certification candidates might ask as they contemplate advanced NPD certification.


Am I eligible to seek advanced NPD certification?


Candidates must:


* Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or hold the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country.


* Hold a master's or higher degree in nursing or related field. If the graduate degree is in a related field, the baccalaureate degree must be in nursing.


* Hold the American Nurses Credentialing Center Nursing Professional Development Certification (NPD-BC)


* Have a minimum of 4,000 hours of active practice at the NPD specialist level within the last 5 years. Practice settings include any practice or learning environment.


* Demonstrate advanced NPD practice, defined as leadership in


facilitating professional role development, including practice transitions;


managing change;


championing scientific inquiry;


collaborative partnerships;


advocating for the specialty as leader and mentor;


analyzing issues, trends, and supporting data to determine the needs of individuals, organizations, and communities;


synthesizing data to validate an identified gap in professional practice with the goal of closing the practice gap for individual or team;


facilitating professional role competence and growth resulting in organizational impact.



What is advanced NPD certification?


Whereas the NPD-BC certification demonstrates knowledge based on passing an examination, advanced NPD certification is for NPD specialists who demonstrate application of the NPD specialist standards as delineated in Nursing Professional Development: Scope and Standards of Practice (Harper & Maloney, 2016).


Advanced NPD certification is not equivalent to advanced practice certification. Advanced practice nurses must meet additional state regulations based on their area of practice. Advanced practice nurses have a different scope of practice than registered nurses.


What credential is awarded?


At the time of this writing, ANPD has submitted for a registered trademark for an advanced credential, which can be added to your signature line. Watch for an announcement of the credential in Trendlines, ANPD's monthly newsletter.


How do I apply?


Candidates for advanced NPD certification must document their own advanced NPD practice. Advanced NPD practice is demonstrated by submission of a portfolio that portrays fulfillment of the six NPD responsibilities delineated in the throughputs of the NPD practice model. The portfolio will consist of exemplars and evidence of fulfilling NPD competencies delineated in the scope and standards (Harper & Maloney, 2016). Evidence might include (but is not limited to) work products, presentations, or publications. Cumulatively, the portfolio must show how the candidate has addressed each NPD practice role as well as each of the NPD standards of practice and professional performance based on the current edition of the scope and standards. Some Doctor of Nursing Practice programs require advanced certification, and with the new American Association of Colleges of Nursing graduate essentials, many might use the NPD specialist competencies to prepare graduates for advanced certification.


How might I benefit from advanced NPD certification?


Two categories of benefits apply to advanced NPD certification and in fact to all nursing certifications: the professional and the personal. Though professional benefits vary in different organizations, benefits may include preference in hiring in some organizations. When selecting nurses for special projects, many organizations give preference to nurses who have completed advanced certification. In some organizations, the advanced certification places a nurse at a higher pay level. Benefits include professionalism and clinical competence, broader and more diverse employment opportunities, and better patient care (Purdue Global, accessed February 21, 2021) (Whitehead et al., 2019). When healthcare organizations invest in certification, RN retention and enhanced job satisfaction result.


Personal benefits include feelings of personal growth, satisfaction, and leadership; perceived empowerment; professional recognition; and validation of competency.


When assessing career opportunities, the certified nurse might inquire about benefits that the organization extends to the certified nurse and the advanced NPD certified nurse. Increasingly, certified nurses identify themselves with identification badges and communicate their certified status to others. Ninety percent of nurse managers would give preference in hiring to a certified nurse (Relias CE Direct, n.d.).


Why advanced certification makes a difference.


We have made progress in identifying relationships between certification and desirable patient outcomes. Yet, other variables often interfere with a clear picture of desirable patient, nurse, and organizational outcomes. Certification indicates that those who have completed certification requirements can be expected to perform to a high standard.


Results of the Advanced NPD Certification Survey 2017 revealed that


* 72% of 1,413 respondents have a master's degree and NPD certification and


* 70% of 1,003 nurses expressed interest in advanced certification (ANPD, 2017).



Clearly, more than 1,000 nurses are ready to begin the process of advanced certification.


Certification sets a standard. Certified nurses have completed a certification examination that is regularly updated to reflect current practice. "Certification demonstrates the external validation of one's expertise or role to multiple stakeholders-including the public, employers and third-party payers" (Kitto et al., 2017).


NPD-certified nurses are ready to take on the challenge of advanced certification. Watch for the launch of the advanced NPD certification in the near future!



The author celebrates the contributions to this editorial by Mary Harper, PhD, RN, NPD-BC.




Association for Nursing Professional Development (2017). Advanced NPD certification survey. Author. [Context Link]


Harper M., Maloney P. (2016). Nursing professional development: Scope & standards of practice (3rd ed.). ANPD. [Context Link]


Kitto S., Grant R., Chappell K., Lundmark V. (2017). The relationship between specialty certification of individual nurses and outcomes. Journal of Nursing Administration, 47(5), 245-247. [Context Link]


Relias CE Direct. (n.d.). Impact of nursing certification on nurses, healthcare employers, and patients [White paper]. [Context Link]


Whitehead L., Ghosh M., Walker D. K., Bloxsome D., Vafeas C., Wilkinson A. (2019). The relationship between specialty nurse certification and patient, nurse and organizational outcomes: A systematic review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 93, 1-11. [Context Link]