Pros / Cons of APN vs. RN

Nurses General Nursing

Published

Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of being an APN over an RN?

I could either do a direct entry MSN, or get a 2nd degree BSN followed by an MSN.

I'm interested in getting an MSN (I haven't set on the area yet, but possibly in acute care on anesthesia based on how I lost a relative), but I want to know what I'm getting into and that the extra cost & schooling is worth it. If not, I'll just get the 2nd Degree BSN vs. the direct entry MSN.

GilaRRT

1,905 Posts

Nearly every CRNA school I know of requires at least a year of critical care experience. Additionally, providing complex care as an ACNP would be difficult without the benefit of acute care experience.

Specializes in o.

Thank you!

But even aside from acute care, since I don't know yet which MSN I'd get, I'm wondering what the pros / cons are of being any type of APN vs. RN (how does the work load differ, etc).

I'm sure they vary by specialty and even by hospital, but I imagine there are some commonalities as well.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

88 Articles; 21,246 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Pro;

More money sometimes.

More day shift hours sometimes.

More respect...occasionally.

Chance to see pts and treat them on your own.

Autonomy.

Con:

Biggest one which I have experienced is the increased responsibility. Often the buck stops with the APN. APNs can and are sued.

Bottom line: with added salary and better hours comes more responsibility.

Specializes in o.

Con: Biggest one which I have experienced is the increased responsibility. Often the buck stops with the APN. APNs can and are sued.

Bottom line: with added salary and better hours comes more responsibility.

Woah, being sued is something huge to consider. I certainly don't have any shortage of responsibility. In fact, I'm often teased that I'm *too* responsible and too detail-oriented. It's actually a resolution of mine to loosen up a little bit. lol

But when it comes to lawsuits against APNs, is that something that is common? And are APNs sued over their own mistakes, or even the mistakes of RNs and Assistants they work with?

I can imagine how emotional people can get when a loved one passes and it's not even at the fault of the professional. I lost my closest loved one at it *was* at the fault of a professional. Admittedly, part of me wanted to sue, but ultimately I did not.

vabixrn

2 Posts

I am in school for my Master's for the Clinical Nurse Leader. It is a generalist, not a specialist degree. You may consider this route. I am attending the University of South Alabama and it is all completely on line. Another great advantage to this is, once you finish you can obtain several post master's with only having to complete another 2-3 semesters. I work in a government facility and the CNL's that I know have increased there yearly salary by approximately $14K with this degree. And these jobs are monday through friday.

meandragonbrett

2,438 Posts

But when it comes to lawsuits against APNs, is that something that is common? And are APNs sued over their own mistakes, or even the mistakes of RNs and Assistants they work with?

No, an APN wouldn't be held liable for a mistake made by the bedside RN. RN's don't work "under" anybody.

Specializes in o.
No, an APN wouldn't be held liable for a mistake made by the bedside RN. RN's don't work "under" anybody.

Ahh, okay. So the APN's, if sued, are being sued for their own actions, never for actions of anyone else they work with. I can absolutely handle that. I just don't want to be taken to court if someone I work with is doing less than desireable nursing.

MedSurgeMess

985 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, educator.
Ahh, okay. So the APN's, if sued, are being sued for their own actions, never for actions of anyone else they work with. I can absolutely handle that. I just don't want to be taken to court if someone I work with is doing less than desireable nursing.

The way I had a legal nurse consultant explain it to me is that every RN on the floor is responsible for all the patients on the floor, and the further up the food chain you are, the more responsibility you bear. So, yes, depending on the position you would have, you could still be potentially liable for those actions by others working with you. You would also have to check with your state scope of practice, and the policies of the facility in which you work.

Specializes in o.

That makes sense, MedSurgeMess, thanks so much!

So does anyone have more pros / cons of being an APN over an RN?

I've read a number of RNs on this board expressing their frustration with fellow nurses (RNs, assistants, etc) not carrying their weight, or being overloaded by mgmt., etc. Are those problems still present to the same degree with APNs too? Or, as an APN, is your role so different that the same frustrations don't apply?

I'm trying to a get good a handle on how the day-to-day job differs betten APN vs. RN, both the good and the bad.

Specializes in Critical Care.

You're really comparing apples and oranges. An APN is practicing differently than a bedside RN. Bedside RN's, depending upon where they may practice could be required to provide care for as little as 1 patient to as many as 10 patients (ICU vs. som Med-Surg areas). APN's while not responsible for the bedside care are responsible for the management of what could be potentially many more patients. Where I work, in our CVICU, the night APN could be responsible for overseeing care on up to 24 patients in conjunction with Residents. They trouble shoot emergencies and manage the overall care. It's a big responsibility but it's also got some huge job satisfaction as well as some frustrations. It has many complexities to the job. And it's one I'm looking forward to being able to do one day.

I've been a bedside RN for over 10 years now, working on going back to school hopefully to apply to grad school next year. I love the challenge of patient management and working towards positive outcomes. I also love the ICU and all the challenges those patients present. As an APN, I realize the frustrations will change from those I've experienced as a bedside RN...but there will still be frustrations as with any job.

I guess I'm not sure what your question really is...an APN is still an RN...just with an advanced degree and an advanced license. For me, the reason to leave the bedside is as I've stated the challenges such a role presents as well as the realization that as I"m getting older, I don't know how long I'll be able to function at the bedside. I've been at the bedside for an extended period of time but as I get older, will I be able to physically carry the load? I'm turning 40 next year...I have worked with many nurses who in their late 50's are having lots of physical challenges which are making it very difficult to do the job at the bedside but they are stuck as they don't have degrees that allow them to leave the bedside. They have limited job opportunities. I don't want to find myself in their position so I'm making the move to extend my education now...while I"m young enough and not tied down. I don't want to be 58, not able to retire and not have any choices. Just IMHO.

Specializes in o.

Highlandlass,

That was actually an amazingly great description of the difference between the two. I understand exactly what you're saying. Thank you!

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