What you need to know about signing your credentials with the passage of HB 216

Prior to the passage of HB 216, APRNs were licensed as registered nurses with a certificate of authority to practice as an APRN in a specific designation. Today all practicing Ohio APRNs have two licenses: registered nurse and advanced practice registered nurse. The Ohio APRN license also lists the APRN’s designation which is granted through the national certification process. Designations include CRNA, CNS, CNM and CNP. The CNS and CNP’s national certification also determines population focus, i.e. family practice, pediatrics, primary mental health, etc.

The new APRN license incorporated the certificate of authority (COA) and certificate to prescribe (CTP) and provides prescriptive authority which includes the authority to personally furnish most drugs and therapeutic devices. A person educated and certified in one of the APRN designations may not use the title APRN without possessing the license. The Ohio Revised Code has afforded the APRN with title protection for more than five years. With the passage of H.B. 216 on APRN title protection, the Ohio Nurse Practice Act adopted another aspect from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing‘s APRN Regulatory Model. The legal professional initials behind the APRN’s signature is APRN and not the certification initials, i.e., FNP, ACNP, PMHNP, etc. Finally, in accordance with Ohio Administrative Code 4723-8-03 (title protection) the APRN may use their title Advanced Practice Registered Nurse or the initials APRN or APRN with appropriate designation, APRN – CRNA, APRN- CNS, APRN – CNM or APRN – CNP. The Nurse Practice Act does suggest the use of APRN with your designation, APRN-CNP.

While documenting the APRN legal signature is regulated by individual State Boards of Nursing, the use of national specialty certifications is usually voluntary. According to the American Nurses Certification Center (ANCC): In professional endeavors such as speaking, writing for publication, or providing testimony before a legislative body, using all relevant credentials is recommended. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners recommends a standard way to list credentials after your name. There are exceptions, but in most cases, post-nominal credentials following a APRN’s name usually follow this order:

  • Highest earned academic degree in or related to nursing
  • Nursing licensure
  • Nursing Certification
  • Example: Jane Doe, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

For more information on the issues and changes to APRN practice in Ohio, click here.