2020 ACC Clinical Competencies for NPs and PAs in Adult Cardiovascular Medicine

Rodgers GP, Linderbaum JA, Pearson DD, et al.
2020 ACC Clinical Competencies for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in Adult Cardiovascular Medicine: A Report of the ACC Competency Management Committee. J Am Coll Cardiol 2020;Mar 20:[Epub ahead of print].

The following are key points to remember about this American College of Cardiology (ACC) Competency Statement for nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) in adult cardiovascular medicine:

  1. Competency-based education has been adopted by the ACC to provide guidance in professional education within 6 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education domains:
    • Patient Care
    • Medical Knowledge
    • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
    • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
    • Professionalism
    • System-Based Practice
  2. The ACC Competency Management Committee oversees development of competency statements for cardiovascular specialists covering the entire career spectrum.
  3. The ACC began developing NP and PA competencies as the result of the “2015 ACC Health Policy Statement on Cardiovascular Team-Based Care and the Role of Advanced Practice Providers”1 that stresses the importance of collaborative team-based cardiovascular care.
  4. Clinical competencies for NPs and PAs are designed to promote a framework for educational initiatives and practice performance.
  5. Competencies maybe assessed by the review of one’s individual practice, by review of hospital data, or through performance assessments or practice improvement initiatives.
  6. Medical knowledge, patient care, and procedural skill competencies are related to 11 clinical areas. These competencies are unique to each of the following clinical areas:
    • Acute Coronary Syndromes
    • Adult Congenital Heart Disease
    • Ambulatory and Consultative Cardiology Care
    • Cardiac Arrhythmias and Electrophysiology
    • Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
    • Critical Care Cardiology
    • Heart Failure
    • Pericardial Disease
    • Stable Ischemic Heart Disease
    • Valvular Heart Disease
    • Vascular Medicine
  7. Competencies generally expected of all cardiovascular NPs and PAs are present within the document, with the understanding that NPs and PAs may specialize in specific sub-specialties.
  8. NPs and PAs who are in a sub-specialty may require higher levels of knowledge and skill beyond the basic competencies.
  9. All cardiovascular NPs and PAs should have the skills to assess new research findings and appropriately incorporate new diagnostic and treatment modalities in patient care.
  10. Knowledge should be maintained and enhanced through regular review of journals and other sources of reliable information and through participation in scholarly scientific meetings and continuing professional education activities.


  1. Brush JE Jr, Handberg EM, Biga C, et al. 2015 ACC Health Policy Statement on Cardiovascular Team-Based Care and the Role of Advanced Practice Providers. J Am Coll Cardiol 2015;65:2118-36.

Clinical Topics: Acute Coronary Syndromes, Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Cardiovascular Care Team, Congenital Heart Disease and Pediatric Cardiology, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Prevention, Valvular Heart Disease, Implantable Devices, SCD/Ventricular Arrhythmias, Atrial Fibrillation/Supraventricular Arrhythmias, Congenital Heart Disease, CHD and Pediatrics and Arrhythmias, CHD and Pediatrics and Quality Improvement, Acute Heart Failure

Keywords: Acute Coronary Syndrome, Ambulatory Care, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Cardiovascular Diseases, Clinical Competence, Critical Care, Electrophysiology, Heart Defects, Congenital, Heart Failure, Heart Valve Diseases, Ischemia, Interpersonal Relations, Nurse Practitioners, Patient Care, Physician Assistants, Primary Prevention, Vascular Diseases

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