APRN Roles

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    Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) encompass nurse practitioners (NP), clinical nurse specialists (CNS), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA), and certified nurse midwives (CNM). Here is a look into the roles and responsibilities of these nurses.

    APRN Roles

    So...you’ve decided to advance your education and obtain a masters degree in nursing (MSN) or a terminal doctoral degree. Which route will you travel? What is your ultimate goal? Where do you see your nursing career in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? AN has a robust Advanced Practice Forum.

    In this article we will explore the four options for advanced practice careers.

    Nurse Practitioner

    According the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, NPs are:

    “...clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to health care.”

    NPs fulfill many roles both in the hospital, in private practices, nursing homes, correctional institutions, home care and in management positions. NPs are sought after for their clinical expertise and ability to provide cost-effective medical care in our ever-changing world of nursing. They perform their duties professionally and compassionately. Outcomes from NP care are economical and have been proven to be on par with professional medical standards. Today, many NPs function as the primary gate keeper to US medical care. Many patients have an NP as a primary care provider.



    ANs NP forum has many threads and articles about NP practice, duties and responsibilities. We also have a student NP forum where students can discuss issues about schools, classes, obtaining preceptors and the new-grad job market.

    Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

    Nurse anesthetists have been providing anesthesia care for more than 150 years. The certification CRNA was developed in 1956. From the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists:

    “CRNAs are anesthesia professionals who safely administer approximately 43 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) 2016 Practice Profile Survey.”

    In the CRNA forum, discussions range from new grad job offers to practice pearls to how to develop an independent practice. AN also has a very active student CRNA forum where members discuss shadowing experiences, interviews with schools, and the life of an SRNA. Frequent discussions focus on how to blend the student role with the practicing CRNA role.

    The military has long used CRNAs in field hospitals on battlefields on the front lines. CRNAs first provided care to wounded in the Civil War. Nowadays, the military continues to utilize CRNAs in active duty environments as well as the Veterans Administration facilities.

    Cost-containment is another aspect of nursing care where CRNAs excel. They provide high-quality anesthesia care in an efficient manner with reduced expenses to patients and insurance companies. This makes this career choice very lucrative.


    Clinical Nurse Specialist

    The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists state that CNS’s are expert clinicians who care for a specific population. In most states they are recognized as APRNs and able to examine, diagnose, and treat patients as well as to bill for this care. They function in a wide variety of settings including hospital, clinics, nursing homes, home care, and hospices. There are a myriad of roles for the CNS and depending on the facility, the CNS might be a change agent or educator, or manager or provide bedside APRN care. AN’s CNS forum can be found here.



    Certified Nurse Midwives

    The American College of Nurse Midwives is the organization devoted to supporting and providing cutting edge information to CNMs. For many women in the US, CNM care is the routine for their pregnancy. These nurses care for the pregnant woman and child during pregnancy and labor. They have a much lower rate of operative births. And the rate of labor interventions is often less also with CNM care. The CNM forum on AN also provides much information to the CNM community.

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    4 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    And...according to some quality research studies, midlevel providers such as APRNs provide quality care that is comparative to the care delivered by physicians.

    http://www.npjournal.org/article/S15...410-8/abstract
    http://content.healthaffairs.org/con.../1469.abstract
    Midwifery Practice and Education: Current Challenges and Opportunities
    http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/vi...usarmyresearch
  4. by   BostonFNP
    Quote from TheCommuter
    midlevel providers such as APRNs
    *cringe*


    Excellent article, thanks trauma!
  5. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from BostonFNP
    *cringe*
    What was supposedly cringe-worthy? Please elucidate, since I would like to be enlightened regarding what induced your cringe factor. Thanks in advance.
  6. by   Boomer MS, RN
    Quote from TheCommuter
    What was supposedly cringe-worthy? Please elucidate, since I would like to be enlightened regarding what induced your cringe factor. Thanks in advance.
    I'm guessing the term midlevel provider to describe an Advanced Practice Nurse.

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