A Competency-Based Curriculum for Critical Care Nurse Practitioners’ Transition to Practice

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Abstract

Background

Nearly one-third of new-graduate nurse practitioners report undergoing no formal orientation process, and postcertification orientation processes vary. A validated curriculum would address the need for structured training to enhance new graduates’ practice transition.

Methods

A competency-based practice transition curriculum for intensive care unit nurse practitioners was created using a literature review and expert panels. Competencies were established that were based on clinical categories essential to nurse practitioner practice in the intensive care unit and adapted from existing Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education training, aligned with the precertification nursing curriculum. Participants recruited from academic and clinical backgrounds were asked to rank curriculum items using a 4-point Likert scale. Competencies were refined on the basis of participants’ survey feedback.

Results

A total of 31 participants from academic medical centers and schools of nursing throughout the United States responded to the request for competency validation; 29% of participants provided qualitative data. All 9 competency topics received a mean rating greater than 3.5 and were deemed valid. Using the combined quantitative and qualitative data, a final set of competencies for nurse practitioners in the intensive care unit was developed.

Conclusions

The curriculum developed and validated in this study can become the basis for practice transition for novice nurse practitioners. The curriculum is adaptable and can be used for surgical and medical intensive care units. As refined, the competencies provide a validated foundation for training of new-graduate nurse practitioners in the intensive care unit.

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