I finished a post-master's FNP program earlier in the year, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on why I believe that we, as an NP profession, should go with AANP for certification:
1. The AANPCB is specifically and solely dedicated to upholding, improving, and strengthening the NP profession. While I do respect what the ANCC does for nursing, it encompasses so many different things outside of our specialty: RN certifications, leadership certifications, NP certifications, etc. We should be dedicating our resources to an organization like this. They have been representing us since the early 90s.
2. The AANP initial certification exam fees and the certification renewal are BOTH cheaper than the ANCC. If you are a member of the AANP, the cost of the exam and renewal is even cheaper. Paying higher fees every 5 years can add up, especially when you have funds that need to go elsewhere as well.
3. The AANP continuing education is phenomenal. I've been a part of multiple different organizations, and I genuinely believe that the AANP has some of the best resources available. You can get TONS of great CEUs (pharm, disease management, etc.) on their website. I've looked through ANA's membership benefits and they are nowhere near AANP.
4. In regards to the exam, if you study from Leik and supplement with BoardVitals, you'll be fine! I honestly thought the exam was too easy...considering that people have a lot of autonomy as an NP. Frankly, it should be much harder than it is. The most interesting thing about this year is the fact that ANCC CHANGED their exam, making it more clinically-based and less research-based. Do any of you find that kind of funny, considering that that was what the AANP was all about to begin with? If they're changing the exam to be more clinically-based, they mind as well MERGE the certification exams together. MD/DOs know that having two certification boards is a BAD thing, because that leads to inconsistency between various NPs. Frankly, I believe the ANCC finally realized that it was a bad idea to proctor an exam with 30-35% of the material being research-based. How is that going to vet bad NPs from practicing? Outside of 2015, every year thereafter, the AANP FNP exam has lower/slightly lower pass rates than the ANCC. Part of the reason why this might be is because of the clinical content.
5. To my knowledge, as of right now, there are no states in the entire country that will not accept an AANP certification. I have encountered hospitals that list ANCC; however, when I called to talk to HR and recruiters, they have stated that an equivalent national certifying body is equally as acceptable (i.e. AANP).
6. Believe it or not, there are a large number of people who have told me that they choose ANCC because it has one more letter in the certification. Are we really picking one certification because FNP-BC looks better than FNP-C? We have enough letters behind our name as it is (I honestly just use 'FNP'). I'm sorry, but that isn't a good reason to choose ANCC.
While I understand the ANCC has been around longer, and they do bestow magnet status to hospitals, times have changed, and I am unaware of any hospitals that will deny an NP with AANP certification. Again, as it stands, the initial exam fee and renewal fees are less, the money goes towards the biggest NP organization in the country, the CEU courses are fantastic, and the exams are clinically based (as they should be). As a physical therapist, I have been disappointed by the lack of clinical knowledge and skill that certain NPs have. I think one problem lies in the fact that there are two certification boards (among other reasons as well). Now that the ANCC is mirroring AANP, let's make one certification once and for all. There is no reason for two certifying bodies. What are your thoughts on this?
J.Lee- DPT, MSN, FNP, CNL, OCS