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Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Kansas for Nurse Practitioners and Other APRNs

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in Kansas are educated at the graduate level through a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or higher, and nationally certified in of four roles as clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners.

Other Kansas nurses that usually possess an MSN or higher include:

  • Nurse administrators
  • Nurse researchers
  • Nurse informaticists
  • Nurse educators
  • Public health nurses
  • Clinical nurse leaders

APRNs are relied upon to provide safe and effective care within their scope of training, licensure and certification to alleviate provider shortages and expand healthcare services for medically underserved populations in Kansas.

The APRN Task Force of Kansas has a mission that includes:

  • Facilitating legislative changes
  • Removing barriers to full practice authority APRNs
  • Removing barriers to develop innovative healthcare delivery systems
  • Ensuring safe and compassionate healthcare for all Kansas citizens

Licensing Requirements for the APRN Roles Recognized in Kansas

All APRNs in Kansas must possess a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or higher and national certification in a chosen APRN role. The Kansas State Board of Nursing recognizes the following four APRN roles:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse Anesthetist (NA)
  • Nurse-Midwife (NM)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)

NPs and CNSs further specialize by becoming educated in a specific patient population focus (for example, family-individual across the lifespan; adult-gerontology primary or acute care; neonatal; women’s health; psychiatric-mental health).

Nurse midwives (CNMs) and nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) do not focus their education on a particular population group, as all CNMs are dedicated to women’s health and neonatal care as implied by the role, while CRNAs are able to work with all population groups.

After achieving an MSN, graduates must achieve national certification in an APRN role and population focus that aligns with their MSN degree. The Board recognizes the following national certifying bodies/certifications for the purpose of APRN licensure:

Registered Nurse Practitioner (RNP)

Certified Nurse-Midwife

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Kansas

The Kansas State Board of Nursing recognizes MSN programs that have been recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The following accrediting agencies accredit MSN programs in the respective APRN roles:

Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Practitioner Programs – The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits post-secondary and higher nursing education programs, including master’s/post-master’s certificates. There are no ACEN-accredited programs in Kansas.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits nursing programs at the baccalaureate, graduate, and residency levels. There are eight CCNE-accredited programs in Kansas, located in:

  • Topeka
  • Hays
  • Olathe
  • Pittsburg
  • Kansas City
  • Leavenworth

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Programs – The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) is the accrediting agency for nurse anesthetist programs. There two COA-accredited programs in Kansas, located in:

  • Kansas City
  • Wichita

Certified Nurse-Midwife Programs – The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) is the accrediting agency for nurse-midwives programs. There is one ACME-accredited program in Kansas.

Many institutions offering MSN and other graduate-level APRN programs offer online learning options. These programs allow students to complete all of the required coursework through online study and then complete their clinical requirements through partner sites close to home.

Other program offerings include part-time and accelerated programs.

Kansas State Board of Nursing Requirements for MSN Programs that Prepare Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Board-approved graduates programs for all APRN roles and population foci must include:

  • At least 45 semester credits hours or the academic equivalent
  • At least 500 hours of clinical learning in each clinical track

Clinical learning experiences must provide learning opportunities necessary to achieve the program’s objectives or outcomes, and program faculty should facilitate and evaluate student learning experiences in the clinical area.

The curriculum of MSN programs must:

  • Align the role between practice as an RN and the advanced role of the APRN
  • Provide theoretical instruction in the appropriate APRN role for which the program provides instruction

The curriculum must include:

  • Study in the healthcare delivery system
  • Study in the ethical and legal implications of advanced nursing practice
  • At least three college hours in advanced pathophysiology
  • At least three college hours in advanced health assessment
  • Clinical instruction in the area of specialization, which must include:
    • Ordering diagnostic procedures
    • Prescribing medications and other treatment modalities for client conditions

Selecting the Right Type of Program Based on Current Education

RNs in Kansas seeking a graduate education in an APRN role and population focus must choose a program that meets their current level of education:

  • RNs with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing: RNs with an associate’s degree in nursing must earn both a BSN and MSN before they can become APRNs. RN-to-MSN bridge programs allow RNs to earn both their BSN and MSN in an accelerated format.
  • RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): RNs with a BSN would pursue a standard MSN in a chosen APRN role and specialty.
  • RNs with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): RNs with an MSN may pursue a post-graduate APRN certificate program in a chosen APRN role and specialty.
  • Professionals with a Bachelor’s Degree in a Subject Other Than Nursing: Candidates that possess a bachelor’s degree in another major may pursue an APRN license in Kansas by completing a direct-entry (also called entry-level) MSN program, which includes all components for APRN licensure, including RN licensure and an MSN.

Scope of Practice and Kansas State Laws Governing Advanced Practice Registered Nursing

All rules and statutes specific to advanced practice registered nurses in the four recognized roles can be found in the Kansas Nurse Practice Act.

Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice

Nurse practitioners in Kansas perform the following services:

  • Develop and manage the medical plan for patients based on authorization for collaborative practice
  • Provide health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention, and independent nursing diagnosis
  • Provide healthcare for individuals by managing health problems
  • Provide healthcare services for which the NP is prepared and for which competency has been established/maintained
  • Provide nursing based on advanced clinical expertise, decision making, and leadership skills
  • Serve as a consultant, researcher, and patient advocate

Nurse-Midwife Scope of Practice

Nurse-midwives function in an advanced role through the application of advanced skills and knowledge in women’s healthcare throughout the lifespan. They are authorized to perform the following:

  • Provide independent nursing diagnoses
  • Develop and manage the medical plan of care for patients based on the authorization for collaborative practice
  • Provide healthcare services for which they are educationally prepared and for which competency has been maintained/established
  • Provide healthcare for women, focusing on:
    • Gynecological needs
    • Pregnancy
    • Childbirth
    • Postpartum period
    • Care of the newborn
    • Family planning
  • Provide innovation in evidence-based nursing practice
  • Serve as a consultant, researcher, and patient advocate

Registered Nurse Anesthetist Scope of Practice

Upon the order of a physician or dentist requesting anesthesia or analgesia care, nurse anesthetists in Kansas are authorized to:

  • Conduct anesthesia assessments
  • Develop a general plan of anesthesia care with a physician or dentist
  • Induce or maintain anesthesia or analgesia at the required levels
  • Manage the patient’s emergence from anesthesia or analgesia
  • Order medications and tests
  • Participate in the life support of the patient
  • Select/administer appropriate medications
  • Support life functions for patients under anesthesia care

Clinical Nurse Specialist Scope of Practice

Clinical nurse specialists provide evidence-based are within a specialty area focused on specific patients or clients, populations, settings, and types of care. Clinical nurse specialists in Kansas may perform the following:

  • Develop and manage a medical plan of care for patients based on the authorization for collaborative practice
  • Provide health care services for which the CNS is educationally prepared and for which competency has been established/maintained
  • Provide independent nursing diagnoses
  • Provide innovation in evidence-based nursing practice
  • Serve as a consultant, researcher, and patient advocate

Prescriptive Authority for APRNs in Kansas

APRNs may prescribe drugs, provided they have a written protocol authorized by a responsible physician. Written protocols provide instruction for APRNs when prescribing, administering, or supplying a prescription-only drug. Information included in the protocols includes (but is not limited to):

  • Classifications of disease/injury to the corresponding class of drugs that the APRN is permitted to prescribe
  • Contact information of the APRN and the responsible physician who has authorized the protocol
  • The date the protocols were adopted or last reviewed

APRNs that want to prescribe controlled substances must register with the DEA and notify the Board of the responsible physician(s).

CRNAs in Kansas do not have prescribing authority.

The APRN Consensus Model and Collaborative Practice in Kansas

APRNs in Kansas must develop and manage a medical plan of care for patients based on an agreement developed and signed by the APRN and one or more physicians. Each authorization for collaborative practice must be maintained at the APRN’s principal place of practice.

Although APRNs in Kansas must still practice under a collaborative practice agreement, the Kansas State Board of Nursing has aligned with several parts of the APRN Consensus Model, a national effort designed to standardize APRN education, licensing, certification and practice privileges, including the formal APRN title and the four recognized APRN roles.

More information on Kansas’ implementation of APRN Consensus Model standards can be found here.

The APRN Task Force of Kansas seeks more changes to align with the APRN Consensus Model, including removing the requirement for practice agreements between APRNs and physicians. More information on upcoming legislation can be found here.

Continuing Education Requirements for APRNs in Kansas

APRN licenses in Kansas expire every two years, at the same time as RN licenses. In addition to the completion of a renewal application and associated fee, APRNs must complete at least 30 contact hours of continuing education in the advanced practice nursing role.

Continuing education for APRNs may include any of the following:

  • Provides new knowledge and skills to assist with advanced clinical decision making
  • Designed to maintain or enhance knowledge, skills and/or professional attitudes of APRN practice
  • Supports innovation and creativity in APRN practice
  • Addresses new and developing standards of APRN practice

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