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Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNP) and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) Requirements in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania credentials advanced practice nurses who work in any of three state-recognized roles: nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse midwife.

The State Board of Nursing certifies Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNP) and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS). They hold two Board-issued credentials: RN licensing and CRNP or CNS certification.

Certified Nurse Midwifes are under the joint jurisdiction of the Board of Nursing and the Board of Medicine. They receive their RN licenses from the Board of Nursing. They receive their nurse midwife licenses from the Board of Medicine.

Although nurse midwives have a different licensing authority than other advanced nurses, there are commonalities in the credentialing process. In each case, an RN license is a prerequisite. The registered nurse will complete an advanced program and then pursue national certification. There are additional minor requirements that must be completed, such as pursuing training in recognizing and reporting child abuse.

Pennsylvania does not credential Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). They work under the authority of their RN licenses (http://www.panaforqualitycare.com/#!legislative-updates/cdaf). The Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists is a professional resource for the state’s CRNAs.

The University of Southern California (Nursing@USC) Master of Science in Nursing (MSN-FNP) program addresses both the biomedical and social factors affecting patient health. This is a first of its kind blend of nursing and social work education. This program trains Family Nurse Practitioners to deliver care across the life span in a variety of settings. Click Here to contact Nursing@USC for more information.

Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Sciences has an online Family Nurse Practitioner Master's program. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Family Nurse Practitioner certification exams. Click here to contact Nursing@Georgetown and request additional information.

Select a Pennsylvania Advanced Practice Nurse Topic:

CRNP Requirements

A prospective nurse practitioner will need to complete a master's or post-master program. The program may be accredited and Board-approved or judged equivalent (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/049/chapter21/s21.271.html).

A nurse practitioner must earn national certification.

Although nurse practitioners are not certified by direct reciprocity, requirements for individuals who are licensed in other U.S. states or territories may be held to different standards. National certification is mandatory only for those who were initially licensed or state-certified after February 7, 2005.

Out-of-state and international nurse practitioners will need to meet certification requirements that were in place in Pennsylvania at the time of initial licensure or state certification.

If the nurse practitioner was state credentialed without certification, the Board shall consider the nurse's specialty to be the one determined by the initial state of licensure. If the other state did not designate a specialty, the licensing agency will determine specialty by education (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/049/chapter21/s21.273.html).

Renewal is biennial.

CNS Requirements in Pennsylvania

A clinical nurse specialist can pursue a qualifying nursing program at the master’s, post-master’s, or doctoral level. The program may be Board-approved or equivalent. The licensing agency can also accept programs that were in the past accepted for national certification. Current certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center may be accepted as evidence (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/049/chapter21/subchapHtoc.html).

Current programs are to meet standards found in Section 6.2(c)(1) of state code (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/049/chapter21/subchapHtoc.html).

Clinical nurse specialists are generally expected to earn national certification.

The following organizations are currently accepted:

  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)
  • American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)
  • Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB)

The Board may consider, on an individual basis, qualifications of those who pursued specialties not available for certification. A clinical nurse specialist who is not eligible for national certification will submit various documents such as curriculum vitae and work history. The individual will submit the nursing certifications that he or she does possess. The licensing agency will seek three letters of recommendation.

Clinical nurse specialists who hold credentials in other states or nations can be licensed in Pennsylvania if they were licensed on the basis of similar requirements.

CNS certification is renewed biennially, concurrent with RN licensing.

The Application Process

A prospective CRNP or CNS may apply online (http://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Nursing/Pages/Apply-Online.aspx#.VhZz5_lViko).

The applicant will need to print some documents such as the educational verification form.

Verification of child abuse training will be sent electronically by the approved provider.

A CNS or CRNP applicant pays a $100 application fee.

A CRNP pays $100 for certification and an additional $50 for prescriptive authority.

Nurse Midwife Requirements

Nurse midwives must complete programs in their practice area. Programs must be certification-qualifying.

The graduate will need to pass the certification examination offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

The nurse midwife will register a collaborative agreement.

The application fee is $50.

The applicant must self-query the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Applications are sent to the State Board of Medicine in Harrisburg.

In order to be eligible for prescriptive authority, the nurse midwife must have 45 hours of coursework in advanced pharmacology. At least 16 hours are to be completed in the two-year period preceding application. There is a separate application form for prescriptive authority (http://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Medicine/Pages/Applications---Nurse-Midwife-(CNM).aspx#.VhZ1avlViko). The application fee is $30.

Nurse midwife licenses are renewed biennially. Prescriptive authority must also be renewed.

Additional Information

Information about nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist certificates is available from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (http://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Nursing/Pages/default.aspx#.VhXXDvlViko).

The Board can be reached by telephone at (717) 783-7142 or by email at 'ST-NURSE at pa.gov'.

Information about nurse midwife licensure is available from the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine. The Board can be reached by telephone at (717) 783-1400 or by email at 'ST-MEDICINE at PA.GOV'.

State professional associations include the following:

Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners http://www.pacnp.org/

Pennsylvania Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives http://www.midwivespa.org/

Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists http://www.pana.org/

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