What Is the APRN Consensus Model?

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed the APRN Consensus Model to provide guidance for states on regulating and defining the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) role. While many states have adopted the model, APRNs must be aware that there can still be fluctuation from state to state regarding which portions of the model have been adopted. Therefore, APRNs moving from one state to the next will need to brief themselves on the version of the model adopted by their new state.

The following may help clear up any questions that students or APRNs may have on the APRN Consensus Model:

How Does the APRN Consensus Model Define an APRN?

The model states that an APRN is a registered nurse who has completed an accredited graduate degree program in one of the four approved roles, has passed a national certification exam, and has obtained a license to practice in one of the four APRN roles, which are:

How Do Specialized Nurse Practitioners Fit Into the Model?

Nurse practitioners who fit into a niche, such as Family Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioners, and more are defined as ARPNs with a population focus. Other population foci roles include Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioners.

What About Other APRN Specialty Roles?

Beyond the APRN role and population foci lies other specialties, such as oncology, palliative care, and more. Specialties are optional, and APRNs are still granted licensure at the role and population foci levels. For example, a Family Nurse Practitioner could specialize in elder care. New specialties evolve constantly, and are based on the needs of the patient community. Certification in the APRN's specialty of choice is highly recommended.

Are All RNs with Graduate Degrees APRNs?

No, only RNs with an MSN or DNP in one of the four APRN roles (CNM, CNS, CRNA, and NP) are considered APRNs. RNs with graduate degrees in non-patient facing roles (such as healthcare administration) are not considered APRNs.

Which States Follow the APRN Consensus Model?

The NCSBN has developed a handy map which illustrates which states have adopted the model, and in what way.

If I Move, How Do I Know Which Parts of the APRN Consensus Model My New State Recognizes?

The NCSBN recommends that APRNs ask themselves the following in regard to the APRN Consensus Model when moving to a new state:

  • Have I met the requirements to practice in this state?
  • Do I have the appropriate certification required to practice in this state?
  • Does my training/experience match within the scope of practice required to practice?

In addition to this, the NCSBN has also developed the APRN Consensus Model Toolkit to help APRNs clarify and understand the model in these situations.