Credentialing and Privileging of Acute Care Nurse Practitioners to Do Invasive Procedures: A Statewide Survey

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Abstract

Background

Acute care nurse practitioners have been successfully integrated into inpatient settings. They perform invasive procedures in the intensive care unit and other acute care settings. Although their general scope of practice is regulated at the state level, local and regional scope of practice is governed by hospitals.

Objective

To determine if credentialing and privileging of these nurses for invasive procedures varies depending on the institution.

Methods

Personnel in medical staff offices of 329 hospitals were surveyed by telephone with 6 questions. Data collected included acute care nurse practitioner and hospital demographics, frequency and type of procedures performed, proctoring and credentialing process, and the presence of residents and fellows at the institution.

Results

The response rate was 74.8% (246 hospitals). Among these, 48% (118) employed acute care nurse practitioners, of which 43.2% performed invasive procedures. Three hospitals were excluded from the final analysis. Of the hospitals that credentialed and granted privileges to the nurse practitioners for invasive procedures, 60.4% were teaching hospitals. A supervising physician was the proctor in 94% of the nonteaching hospitals and 100% of the teaching hospitals. The most common number of cases proctored was 4 to 7.

Conclusion

The majority of hospitals employ acute care nurse practitioners. The most common method of privileging for invasive procedures is proctoring by a supervising physician. However, the amount of proctoring required before privileges and independent practice are granted varies by procedure and institution.

Acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) are advanced practice registered nurses whose education, training, and certification involve caring for critically ill, complex, acute and chronically ill patients.1,2 In order to practice in the inpatient setting, ACNPs must be credentialed and privileged through their individual institutions. Credentialing refers to the process by which a provider's license, certificate, and education are authenticated by an institution. Privileging is the process of authorizing a provider to perform specific clinical duties, including diagnostic testing, treatment, invasive testing, and invasive procedures.3

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