Advanced Nurse Practitioner’s Professional Development Plan


Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are expected to meet the minimum licensure, education, as well as regulatory requirements. The scope usually varies with state and determines the prescriptive authority and environment. Nurse Practitioner (NONPF) Core Competencies help translate knowledge acquired into practice through enhancing leadership. Effective leadership skills facilitate the achievement of nursing objectives by promoting collaboration and integration. This paper presents an APN Professional Development Plan explaining the scope, core competencies, and leadership skills.

APN Scope of Practice


The North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) and the North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) are the two governing bodies overseeing the Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP). They expect the nurse to maintain competence, acquire the necessary certification and have the required educational level. APNs have a wide scope, including family and individual counseling, disability and disease prevention, health promotion and maintenance, prescription procedures, administering, as well as therapeutic and drug measures (Moore & Hawkins-Walsh, 2020). They collaborate with other practitioners to evaluate patient outcomes and plan for situations and methods. Their scope also involves supporting and treating patients with chronic and acute illnesses.


The Consensus Model of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Regulation contains the educational requirements in North Carolina state. ANPs must attain at least a graduate degree and acquire a national certification. They are expected to possess advanced clinical knowledge to offer direct care to patients. Their skills should exceed those of a Registered Nurse (RN) and be prepared educationally to offer treatment and diagnose health conditions.

APNs should have the appropriate skills to use both pharmacologic and nonpharmacological interventions to enhance patient outcomes. Moreover, they should have adequate clinical experience and practice licenses. Their work environment expects them to update their skills and knowledge annually to remain relevant (American Association of Nurse Practitioners [AANP], 2019). Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) specifies the education hours required to enhance skills and keep up with the rising demand. ANP tasked with the prescription of controlled substances is expected to allocate at least one contact hour for the management of chronic pain, controlled substances, and abuse and miscues of medication.

Practice Environment

The practice environment entails organizational characteristics favoring or affecting professional practice. Good relationships, control of activities, and autonomy improve the work environment. The work of APNs is monitored to ensure that patients receive quality care. This promotes teamwork and supports them in the making of the right decisions based on the patient’s interest (AANP, 2019). The environment encourages nurses to work hard, advocate for patient rights and provide quality care.

Prescriptive Authority

The prescriptive authority is sometimes referred to as independent prescribing and entails the ability to administer controlled drugs, durable medical goods, medical services, supplies, and equipment without limitations. It does not necessitate collaboration with physicians since the APN is considered competent (AANP, 2019). The Consensus Model attempts to promote uniformity in the regulation of prescriptive authority. It extends to the controlled substance schedules II-V in case they are provided in the Collaborative Practice Agreement and scope of practice.

Nurse Practitioner (NONPF) Core Competencies

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) defines the requirements for nurse practitioners. Two sets of competencies have been developed, the first one being in 1990 and the second in 2012. Experts in education and clinical practice were involved in the development of the nine core competencies. They cover key areas such as leadership, scientific foundation, ethics, policy, independent practice, health delivery system, practice inquiry, quality, and technology and information literacy (Chan et al., 2020). Every nurse practitioner must possess these competencies to graduate since they are considered more important than the clinical hours spent.

One competency area that I consider a personal strength is the provision of patient-centered care showing respect to cultural diversity as well, and involving patients in the decision-making process. The second one is assuming advanced and complex leadership roles to guide and initiate changes. In my practice, I am determined to make positive changes by utilizing every opportunity positively. I feel motivated to guide others and promote a positive working environment where everyone would feel motivated to contribute toward the achievement of quality care for patients (Moore & Hawkins-Walsh, 2020). Assuming leadership roles makes it possible to achieve nursing experience and offer satisfactory services to patients. Moreover, I am always determined to involve patients and consider their cultural beliefs. Enhancing collaboration with other practitioners and physicians creates room for improvement and encourages hard work.

There are various competency areas where I have growth opportunities. The first one is the demonstration of interdependence knowledge in practice and policy. The second area is the participation in professional and organizational activities that promote advanced practice nursing. Growth in competencies regarding practice and policy can improve my knowledge of cost management, patient insurance, and quality care to patients (Chan et al., 2020). I will make an effort to improve my understanding of core competencies and address arising issues affecting patients.

Scholarly activities can be beneficial during the master’s program to enhance the achievement of NP competencies. Research and skills development is one of these activities and entails a continuous process that extends to the entire career journey. Professional organizations and support networks offer access to continuing education and career development opportunities. I will participate in and join professional organizations to boost my skills and knowledge (Moore & Hawkins-Walsh, 2020). The second scholarly activity will be reviewing nursing journals and making the necessary subscriptions. Reading nursing articles could facilitate the development of skills and improvement of knowledge. This would ensure that I remain updated on my core competence and keep on improving my position. The determination can influence the development and eventually advance to a nursing journal reviewer and participate in the publication of peer-reviewed materials.

Leadership Skills

The NPs are most of the time expected to work in a complex and dynamic healthcare system due to emerging requirements. Implementing procedures and policies is usually a difficult task for nurses due to ever-changing demands and work requirements (Schlunegger et al., 2021). This means that nurses must develop competent leadership skills to enhance their ability to guide others and achieve their objectives. Strong leadership skills can improve the ability of an NP to lead and achieve results within complex systems. These skills could be knowledge of conceptual, emotional intelligence, and communication skills.

Effective communication skills promote collaboration and quality health care practice. It enables the interdisciplinary team to work together to achieve their objective. Appropriate and clear communication is a beneficial tool that enables the smooth flow of information, coordination, and effective teamwork (Schlunegger et al., 2021). Communication serves three beneficial functions, namely control, motivation as well as fulfillment, and expression of feelings. These skills facilitate the communication of expectations and goals to ensure that every member of the interdisciplinary team understands and participates in the achievement of results (Chan et al., 2020). This means that effective communication is necessary for the making of the appropriate decisions and improvement of patients’ experience.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important leadership skill, and it entails the ability to manage, use and understand emotions positively. It helps communicate effectively and relieve stress while defusing conflict, overcoming challenges, and empathizing with others (Chan et al., 2020). It facilitates the establishment of strong relationships and the achievement of personal and career goals. These skills enable NPs to make informed decisions and ensure that intentions are turned into actions (AANP, 2019). This improves patient outcome and satisfaction and facilitates the achievement of established objectives. EQ promotes self-control, self-awareness, social awareness, and self-confidence that supports effective leadership. It enables leaders to respond properly to changes in practice and understand their operating environment.

Conceptual skills promote thinking ability and enable NPs to understand complex ideas and answer challenging problems. These skills are important since they help provide solutions to varying challenges through abstract reasoning and thoughts. Moreover, they encourage in-depth understanding of the specialty areas and gain competency to ensure mentoring and provision of knowledge. This facilitates the incorporation of the necessary changes to achieve the nursing objective. Developing NP leadership skills would necessitate the establishment of various strategies to attain competency. Two of these strategies are skills integration and reflective journaling. Integrating skills can help keep track and improve self-awareness (AANP, 2019). Incorporating basic skills into practice improves communication skills, which encourages listening and educating patients. Reflective journaling creates an insight into emotions and eliminates bias to enhance daily interactions. This plays a role in the improvement of self-awareness and future actions by boosting decision-making capabilities and control of emotions.


APN Professional works in a challenging and dynamic environment requiring them to apply effective strategies to ensure the provision of quality care to patients. State laws guide their scope and requirements and ensure that they develop core competencies. Scholarly activities are necessary for a master’s program to attain the core competencies and realize success. Leadership skills enable APNs to communicate effectively, plan their work, and remain focused on the achievement of nursing objective


American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2019). State practice environment. Web.

Chan, T. E., Lockhart, J. S., Schreiber, J. B., & Kronk, R. (2020). Determining nurse practitioner core competencies using a Delphi approach. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 32(3), 200-217. Web.

Moore, J., & Hawkins-Walsh, E. (2020). Evaluating nurse practitioner student competencies: Application of entrustable professional activities. Journal of Nursing Education, 59(12), 714-720. Web.

Schlunegger, M. C., Aeschlimann, S., Palm, R., & Zumstein-Shaha, M. (2021). Competencies and scope of practice of nurse practitioners in primary health care: A scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 19(4), 899-905. Web.

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NursingBird. "Advanced Nurse Practitioner's Professional Development Plan." August 31, 2022.