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An advanced nurse practitioner (APRN) student longs to practice in his/her career that has been long trained for, but first some research is done to know how to start. I will try to provide context into becoming certified as an APRN in Arkansas and what all that entails. Knowing the requirements of becoming an APRN sets a protocol for all that wishes to practice in this field of nursing (AANP, 2022a).
Training and requirements
On the website for Arkansas Department of Health, a nurse can find the Arkansas Board of Nursing and the nurse portal (AR State BON, 2022b). There you will find the primary nurse licensure office resources for a nurse and a nurse practitioner.
To get licensed and certified in Arkansas as an advanced nurse practitioner (APRN), a nurse must join the nurse portal for Arkansas on the Department of Health website, and there will be requirements on the website that a nurse must fulfill to apply for certification and practice as an APRN. The first requirement is that a nurse must perform 2000 hours of service as a nurse to apply, and a nurse obtains a graduate nursing degree, whether masters or doctorate. A nurse will then pay the fee that is associated with the application for APRN and complete the profile in its entirety. A nurse will prepare to take the certification exam on the date he/she chooses.
For the application process, a nurse will submit a criminal background check that includes a fingerprint scan. A nurse will upload an official transcript, and a nurse must verify that he/she passed the certification exam. After passing the certification exam, then a nurse will apply for the prescriptive authority through the nurse portal, devise a quality assurance plan, and lastly apply for the DEA certificate once all other requirements are completed.
Specific state agreements
A nurse practitioner must abide by a set of guidelines, and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners website outlines the expectations for the practice an APRN will provide (AANP, 2022b). The site gives the purpose of the APRN, gives the differences in APRN certifications, and states how APRNs can help society.
Arkansas gives specifics on the state board of nursing website that outlines rules for nurse practitioner (AR State BON, 2022a). Arkansas is a reduced practice state (AANP, 2022a). That means that the state mandates that a nurse practitioner collaborates with a medical doctor to provide care to patients in Arkansas, and there must be protocols in place for the providers to refer to. The criteria are that the provider must have an Arkansas license to practice with an unrestricted DEA registration number for the APRN to work under. Nurse practitioners are authorized to prescribe scheduled drugs II through V with an agreement of collaborative provider. Also, the provider must be trained in the same scope or specialty as the APRN that is applying along with how he/she will manage protocols for prescriptive authority of the APRN. The provider must also have a plan of emergency in case there is an absence of the collaborating provider. The plan for quality assurance must be signed by both parties. Signatures, dates, initials, license numbers, certification specialties, addresses and phone numbers of the APRN and collaborative physician must be obtained.
There are legislative and advocacy activities in Arkansas that nurse practitioner organization(s) are involved in. For Arkansas, a recent bill was passed to reduce the practice barrier for APRNs allowing APRNs with requirements to practice independently (HB1258.412, 2021). There is also a push to make sure everyone receives vaccinations, such as flu and shingles.
Each state regulates how the APRN will be governed. Some states have full practice, reduced practice, and restricted practice. The agreement of a medical doctor or podiatrist to oversee your decisions on patient care is not a negative aspect of APRN practice. It just means two sets of eyes are giving the best care of a patient. It is advised to get involved with your states activities as an APRN so that a nurse will stay abreast on new laws and regulations of your state and join advocacy projects in your community.