By: Susanne J. Pavlovich-Danis, RN, MSN, ARNP-C, CDE, CRRN
Suzanne is an adult ARNP practicing in Plantation, Fla. She is also a nursing professor at the University of Phoenix, South Florida Campus.
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) have prescriptive authority in nearly 50 states. It’s one of our most important responsibilities, yet it places us at risk for malpractice and puts our patients at risk for medical misadventures. If you haven’t heard the news yet — our recertification requirements are expected to change dramatically in 2014 to reflect the importance of our pharmacotherapeutic responsibilities.
I am certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and my new requirements after 2014 have yet to post on the organization’s website. More than likely, they will be in line with the new American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recertification requirements that require 25 contact hours of pharmacotherapeutic continuing education. The new requirements stem from the APRN Consensus Model that includes national uniformity among APRNs in credentials, scope of practice, and educational and state regulations as a way to improve access to high-quality, cost-efficient care that we provide.
You may be surprised to learn that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that more than 75% of all healthcare visits involve prescription drug therapy and many of the patients we see engage in polypharmacy — placing them at great risk for adverse outcomes. Even if your practice does not include extensive prescribing, chances are the patients you care for will be prescribed multiple medications that potentially will impact how you care for them. I’m sure if your patients are like mine they arrive to their appointments with a wealth of information they’ve found on the Internet about medications they believe are right or wrong for them.
Regulations have changed how the pharmaceutical industry interacts with healthcare providers. Pharmaceutical representatives no longer line up at my door armed with information about their products, including drug monographs, educational discs, and patient and provider teaching aids to introduce new drug options and pique my curiosity to learn more. Now, I’m asked to go online, request my own samples, and seek out new drug information on my own. It’s a time-consuming process. I’m sure you also receive an abundance of print materials and magazines to sift through in addition to being bombarded with television and radio advertisements about the latest drugs. To me, it’s information overload with limited usable information to guide prescribing.
Many of my certified APN colleagues may only discover the new ANCC recertification pharmacotherapeutic education requirements when they log in to their certifying organization’s site, anticipating that they have already completed everything they need to renew. I expect that some of those colleagues will experience much anxiety and scramble to earn the required pharmacotherapeutic hours at the 11th hour.
You can earn 25 pharmacotherapeutic continuing education contact hours by completing the Advanced Practice Nurse Pharmacology course. This course provides detailed, drug-related information for chronic and acute medical and mental health conditions. Whether you work in an inpatient, office or community-based setting you’ll find useful tips for medication prescribing and monitoring. Join me and complete your requirement early — and check one more thing off your “to do” list!