March 20, 2020

ACC Issues Clinical Competencies for Cardiovascular NPs and PAs

March 20, 2020—The American College of Cardiology (ACC) announced the release of the "2020 Clinical Competencies for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in Adult Cardiovascular Medicine" by George P. Rodgers, MD, et al. The writing committee was led by Dr. Rodgers, who served as chair, and cochairs Jane A. Linderbaum, NP, and Dorothy D. Pearson, PA. The document is available online ahead of print in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

According to ACC, the document identifies the knowledge and skills that are important for NPs and PAs working in general cardiovascular medicine and cardiovascular medicine subspecialty areas. This is the first competency statement issued for nonphysician members of the cardiovascular care team.

ACC advised that as part of its strategic vision, it is ensuring that all types of cardiovascular professionals have access to the education and knowledge they need to advance their careers and provide optimal patient care. The overarching goal in competency statements is to provide a framework by which educational initiatives and clinical competencies can be coordinated to improve the overall delivery of care to cardiovascular patients. The ACC competency management committee is led by James A. Arrighi, MD, Chair, and Lisa A. Mendes, MD, Co-Chair.

The competency framework includes core competencies for systems-based practice, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, and professionalism, as well as competencies that encompass medical knowledge and patient care and procedural skill related to 11 specific clinical areas.

In the ACC announcement, Dr. Rodgers commented, “Model cardiovascular care teams include NPs and PAs as integral members to manage and treat patients. Through clinical competencies, we are promoting enhanced, collaborative, high-quality, and patient-centered care teams. The goal is for NPs and PAs to practice at their highest levels of education, training, and experience to provide patients with optimal care.”

Additionally, Ms. Linderbaum advised, “When NPs and PAs are practicing at the full scope of education, training, and licensure, they improve access to care, provide comprehensive clinical care, increase physician efficiency and enhance patient satisfaction, extending the capabilities of the general or subspecialty cardiologist and the entire cardiovascular team.”

Ms. Pearson stated, “This document assists NPs and PAs in identifying learning needs and opportunities for professional growth, creates a foundation for writing competency-based education curriculum, and assists NPs and PAs in transitioning from one practice type in cardiovascular medicine to another.”

The ACC noted that the writing committee addressed more than 1,200 comments from cardiologists, NPs, PAs, and others to finalize the document. Thirteen organizations participated in the review process, resulting in an endorsement from the American Academy of Physician Assistants, American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Heart Association, Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiology, Heart Rhythm Society, Physician Assistant Education Association, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions and The National Organization of Nurse Practitioners Faculties.


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