Education of Advanced Practice Nurses For Emergency Care: Current Status and Future Challenges
1College of Nursing, Ajou University, Republic of Korea
Interest in advanced practice nurses (APNs) role has been gaining ground worldwide. Advanced practice nursing roles are developing globally, and opportunities for advanced practice nursing are expanding worldwide due to the need for expert nursing care at an advanced level of practice. In Korea, nurse specialists started to work in the 1970s in the specialized areas of home care nursing, mental health, public health, and anesthesia. In 2003, their job title became the APN.
Advanced Practice Nursing Programs began to be offered in 2004, and as of 2019 there are a total of 84 programs across 36 universities, with a maximum capacity of 697 students in Korea. Korean APNs have a master's degree from an educational institution accredited by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. To be admitted, nurses are required to have 3 or more years of clinical experience within the past 10 years. Accreditation of educational institutions that train advanced practice nurses is performed by the Korea Accreditation Board of Nursing (KABON), which was entrusted with this task by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
In the area of emergency nursing, 4 institutions, including Ajou University, offered training programs and the maximum student capacity was 26. The standard curriculum of all educational programs for advanced practice nurses, including those for emergency advanced practice nurses, requires students to earn a total of 33 academic credits to be able to become an advanced practice nurse. They are divided into 23 credits in theory and 10 credits in practicums (300 or more hours of clinical practice). The requirement for clinical practice is far less demanding than the standards for advanced practice nurse education in other countries.
Korea’s nursing education circles concentrated on the supply of the APNs in a preemptive manner, with the vague hope that once available they would be utilized like in advanced countries. However, this did not happen. Moreover, when it comes to introducing the APNs, there have been no concrete discussions among the government, academia, hospitals, and other relevant institutions. Presently, the nursing association, including the Korean Association of Advanced Practice Nurses and KABON, is persistently making efforts to legalize the APN system. Once the system is legalized in 2020, as we hope it will be, the educational programs and certification exam should be improved and the quality will be managed on the basis of the scope of APNs practice, as specified in the Medical Law, so that students can graduate as competent APNs needed in the healthcare field.