percent of the AOCNP examination addresses “psychosocial management,” including risk factors for psychosocial disturbances (e.g., comorbidities, specific treatments, lack of social support); assessment techniques; sexuality; pharmacological interventions (e.g., anxiolytics, antidepressants); nonpharmacological interventions (e.g., relaxation techniques, hypnosis, biofeedback, art/music therapy); coping methods; family dynamics; and diversity (e.g., cultural, lifestyle, and religious factors). Sixteen percent of the AOCNS examination similarly addresses psychosocial management (ONCC, 2007a,b,c,d).
Evidence of continued competency is not yet uniformly required of licensed nurses. The most recent (2004–2006) data collected by NCSBN show that 13 states have no requirements for demonstration of “continued competence” for licensed nurses. The 31 states that do report using a variety of mechanisms for ensuring continued competency require peer review (4), continuing education (25), periodic refresher courses (5), minimal practice (11), assessment of continued competence (4), and other mechanisms (6). Twelve states require specific subject matter—such as AIDS, child abuse, domestic violence, end of life, law and rules, pain management, and pharmacology—to be addressed through continuing education (NCSBN, undated).
The practice of social work includes “helping people obtain tangible services; counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups; helping communities or groups provide or improve social and health services … [and] requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social and economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interaction of all these factors” (NASW, 2007b:1). Although social workers can practice with a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, the master of social work (MSW) is the most common academic requirement for licensure. Obtaining an MSW degree usually requires 2 years of postundergraduate study and field placements/practica (Morris et al., 2004). Educational preparation for the different degrees varies in conceptualization and design, content, program objectives, and expected knowledge and skills (CSWE, 2004).
Baccalaureate programs in social work prepare graduates for generalist professional practice; master’s programs in social work prepare graduates for advanced professional practice in an area of concentration. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits both degree programs in the United States (CSWE, 2004). Since social work is the primary profession