Nurses in advanced practice roles have existed in Canada for a century, however only in the last two decades, have nurse practitioners (NPs) been recognized as advanced practice nurses (APNs). During this time, the number of NP education programs has increased and have transitioned from post-baccalaureate to graduate and post-graduate level. In 2018, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing’s (CASN) board of directors had discussions focused on the quality of graduate nursing education, specifically NP education, and passed a motion to provide a voluntary NP accreditation program. An accreditation pilot study of three (one collaborative between a community college and university) NP programs was undertaken in 2019-2020 to ensure the accreditation process was relevant and responsive to the needs of the discipline and promoted high quality NP education. After the pilot study was completed, focus groups were held virtually in 2020 with NP stakeholders including program heads, faculty, accreditation pilot reviewers, and the CASN Accreditation Board (CAB). The purpose of this paper is to disseminate the findings from the pilot study focus group evaluations and the proposed revisions to the accreditation standards, to strengthen them. The standards will be utilized in Canada to improve the consistency and quality of nurse practitioner education programs in Canada and abroad in the coming years.
Discuss the relevance for introducing an NP Accreditation Program in Canada. Appraise how accreditation standards contribute to improving quality NP education. Identify strategies for international collaboration to improve consistency and quality of NP education programs.
Eric Staples, NP, RN, Miller Fellow, FCAN; Advanced Practice Nursing Consultant; Lancaster, Ontario, Canada
This course has been approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, provider #CEP16785, for a maximum of 1.00 Nursing Contact Hour.