American College of Cardiology issues clinical competencies for cardiovascular NPs, PAs

March 20, 2020

The American College of Cardiology has released the 2020 Clinical Competencies for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in Adult Cardiovascular Medicine, identifying the knowledge and skills that are important for nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) working in general cardiovascular medicine and cardiovascular medicine subspecialty areas. This is the first competency statement issued for non-physician members of the cardiovascular care team.

"Model cardiovascular care teams include NPs and PAs as integral members to manage and treat patients," said George P. Rodgers, MD, FACC, chair of the clinical competency statement. "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."

As part of its strategic vision, the College 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.

"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," said Jane A. Linderbaum, MS, CNP-BC, AACC, NP co-chair of the writing committee.

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.

"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," said Dorothy D. Pearson, PA-C, AACC, PA co-chair of the writing committee.

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 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.

The 2020 Clinical Competencies for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in Adult Cardiovascular Medicine will be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The American College of Cardiology envisions a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. As the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, the mission of the College and its 54,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC bestows credentials upon cardiovascular professionals who meet stringent qualifications and leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College also provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research through its world-renowned JACC Journals, operates national registries to measure and improve care, and offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions. For more, visit

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology ranks among the top cardiovascular journals in the world for its scientific impact. JACC is the flagship for a family of journals--JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, JACC: Heart Failure, JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology, JACC: Basic to Translational Science, JACC: Case Reports and JACC: CardioOncology--that prides themselves in publishing the top peer-reviewed research on all aspects of cardiovascular disease. Learn more at

American College of Cardiology

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