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Advanced Practice Nurse Professional Development


Scope of practice defines the range of possibilities within the professional framework for nurses, and it is important to understand it properly. In turn, NP competencies determine the extent of professionalism of a nurse; hence, it is important to develop these competencies continually. Finally, leadership skills serve as a great foundation for success and proper organization of workflow in nursing. This paper aims to provide APN professional development plan by discussing APN scope of practice in the intended state of practice, nurse practitioner (NONPF) core competencies, and leadership skills required for nurses.

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APN Scope of Practice

Given the fact that I am planning to successfully graduate from Chamberlain University, I intend to practice in the Illinois state as I have gained significant practical experience here, as well as have already got acquainted with the essential regulatory provisions here. It should be noted that the chosen state has an advanced and sophisticated legal environment for APNs that, nevertheless, is clear and understandable, with no visible and critical contradictions. Educational requirements are as follows; Potential APNs are to obtain a graduate degree or post-master certificate. They should accomplish a program that provides preparations for advanced practice certification. It should also be stressed that the selected graduate program is to be accredited by a specialized establishment that the US Department of Education recognizes. Then, there are some specific provisions as well – depending on one’s career goals as an advanced practice nurse, his or her graduate studies can include specialized programs and a particular educational focus – starting from Clinical Nurse Leader and ending with Nurse Midwife.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation states that one must obtain his or her national certification before getting an APN license. All the general areas of specialty categories allow certifications from one or even more national certification establishments. One should meet his or her chosen organization’s educational and examination requirements to get the national certification. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation licenses advanced practice nurses within the following categories: “Certified nurse practitioner (NP), Certified nurse-midwife (CNM), Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and Certified clinical nurse specialist (CNS)” (Graduate Nursing, 2021, para. 18). At this point, it seems reasonable to identify whether the state allows full, limited, or restricted NP practice.

First, a written collaboration agreement is to be signed, as well as describe the relationship between the nurse practitioner and the supervising physician. This document should include the categories of care, treatment programs, and procedures that can be provided by the nurse practitioner. Such a state of affairs allows assuming that in Illinois state, there is a restricted scope of NP practice. However, it must be emphasized that “an Illinois-licensed advanced practice registered nurse certified as a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or clinical nurse specialist shall be deemed by law to possess the ability to practice without a written collaborative agreement” (Nurse Practice Act, sec. 65-43(a)). Hence, there is an opportunity to have the privilege of full practice authority, according to the relevant legislation of the state. It seems apparent that the Illinois state has flexible regulatory provisions for ANPs, which is of great benefit for the latter ones.

Then, the character of the prescriptive authority of NP in the state is founded on the discussed scope of practice. NPs’ prescriptive authority is to be described in their collaborative agreements. “NPs may prescribe prescription drugs and Schedules III-V controlled substances. Schedule II controlled substances may be prescribed if delegated by the supervising physician and if certain requirements outlined in the rules are met” (NCSLSOP, 2021, para. 8). However, when it comes to the full scope of practice, there is an opportunity to “prescribe both legend drugs and Schedule II through V controlled substances,” as well as “to prescribe benzodiazepines or Schedule II narcotic drugs, such as opioids, only in a consultation relationship with a physician” (Nurse Practice Act, sec. 65-43(c)). Thus, it might be assumed that NPs in Illinois have a substantially broad prescriptive authority in terms of full practice. Nevertheless, in the collaboration agreement, there is also a possibility to provide a nurse with a wide range of prescriptive authorities.

Nurse Practitioner (NONPF) Core Competencies

It might be rational to claim that my personal strengths in the framework of NONPF core competencies are the ones of leadership and ethics. The latter implies realizing the ethical implications within the scope of science, as well as studying to resolve ethical issues particular to my patient population (NONPF, 2012). In this regard, I should state that I always tend to analyze the ethical influence of my decisions during practice. I believe that it is the only appropriate way to achieve significant patient outcomes. Still, I fully recognize that ethical considerations cannot be perceived as a simple aspect to learn and deal with. There is a necessity to continuously enrich the personal experience and theoretical knowledge in this vein in order to be ready for the variety of complexities in this area.

Then, leadership competencies may be considered my strength as well. I have consistently demonstrated notable results in liaising efficiently between various parties – starting from patients and ending with healthcare teams. This assumption comes from the fact that there always has been positive feedback from my patients, supervisors, and colleagues regarding my abilities as a leader and notable communicator. I have never missed the opportunity to elevate the practice of my team by implementing different innovations, which also speaks in my favor in this regard (NONPF, 2012).

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Moreover, it may be noted that I have opportunities for growth in scientific foundation and technology and information literacy competencies. The former is essential for applying the best practices of the evidence-based approach. Given the fact that I am still a student, I have a plethora of possibilities to be involved in the scholarly dimension, which will contribute to the development of my abilities to think critically about data, use knowledge from the humanities and other subjects to improve performance in nursing and utilize relevant research findings properly. All these are included in the scientific foundation’s core competencies. Technology and information literacy implies that I am able to deliver healthcare information to various users, apply modern technologies to manage this process, and motivate patients and care providers to make significant shifts in the healthcare environment (NONPF, 2012). Currently, I have almost unrestricted access to the related technologies and resources to advance my skills in this area.

The first scholarly activity that is likely to help in achieving NP competencies is participation in different research projects. Such an approach is expected to enrich knowledge within diversified themes and improve project-management and leadership capabilities. The involvement in continuous exploration of crucial findings in nursing – as well as many other scientific dimensions – inevitably leads to development as both a professional theoretician and practitioner. Then, it seems important to thoroughly learn provisions that regulate nurses’ practice at both the state and national levels. Realizing a legal environment in which one acts professionally is critical to providing high-quality services without any unexpected issues. Moreover, these legal provisions may contribute to a better understanding of a chosen profession.

Leadership Skills

The first leadership skill required to lead as an NP within complex systems is communication capabilities. Indeed, the way a nurse is able to deliver the necessary information and negotiate various issues with patients and colleagues determines the efficiency of the provided healthcare services and the extent of cooperation within a team – factors that considerably correlate (Lamb et al., 2018). Second, it is problem-solving; the ability of NPs to figure out appropriate decisions under stressful conditions is crucial for guiding a healthcare team to success and top-quality services provision. A true nurse-leader is to possess this leadership skill as it contributes to a smooth workflow (Lamb et al., 2018). Third, it is interpersonal skills; the degree to which a nurse can interact with others shows his or her potential to lead these people by finding a suitable approach to each one.

Furthermore, there are some strategies I could use to help develop NP leadership skills. First, it is the development of critical thinking, which would contribute to advanced problem-solving. It would include the acquaintance with many reliable publications, resolving case studies, and involvement in different nursing activities that imply the occurrence of unexpected issues. Second, it is the enrichment of nursing practice, which results in significant experience. This would involve participation in a number of voluntary nursing activities, such as taking part in non-profit organizations that aim to alleviate the consequences of Covid-19.


To conclude, the APN professional development plan was provided. It was achieved by discussing critical aspects in the framework of the following themes – APN scope of practice, nurse practitioner core competencies, and leadership skills. In order to support the rationale given above, evidence from reliable sources was applied.


Graduate Nursing. (2021). Steps to becoming an APN in Illinois. Web.

Lamb, A., Martin-Misener, R., Bryant-Lukosius, D., & Latimer, M. (2018). Describing the leadership capabilities of advanced practice nurses using a qualitative descriptive study. Nursing Open, 5(3), pp. 400–413.

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NCSLSOP. (2021). State overview: Illinois. Web.

NONPF. (2012). Nurse practitioner core competencies. Web.

Nurse Practice Act, 225 ILCS 65/ (2018). Web.

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