Advanced Practice Nurse

Advanced practice nurses (APN) are registered nurses (RN) who have earned a graduate degree, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and are trained in specialized areas to provide medical care to the patients which other registered nurses cannot. Due to their advanced skills and specific training, APNs are in greater demand and earn better salary than other nurses. Advanced practice nurses may include Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), and Nurse Practitioners (NPs).

What Do Advanced Practice Nurses Do?
A NP directly provides medical care to a specific population: for example, neonates, children, adults, and seniors. He/she will diagnose and manage health problems. He/she are able to prescribe medications and perform therapeutic treatments, request specialty consultations, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and perform comprehensive physical examinations. An NP may also be involved with disease prevention and health promotion campaigns as well as family and patient education. CNSs are experts in the theory and research related to a nursing specialty area. They are also registered nurses treating and managing the health issues of the patients. While by and large, CNSs perform the same duties as other registered nurses, the difference lies in their greater knowledge of data analysis and complexity of skills and actions.

Due to this, they hold positions of responsibility like program coordinators, educators, managers of complex patient populations, and leaders in strategizing and implementing changes to improve patient care. A CNM specializes in the practice of gynecological and obstetrical care to women. He/she provides care to the patients from puberty to menopause. A CNM may work closely with obstetricians. A CRNA is specifically trained to administer anesthesia. He/she may choose to work independently or with surgeons and physicians, depending upon state law.

How To Become An Advanced Practice Nurse?
Advanced practice nurses hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees. The main objective of the degree is to:

  • Educate nurses in advanced studies to provide better medical care to the patients.
  • Develop evidence-based knowledge, advancing primary care practice for patients.
  • Prepare nurses to promote quality and cost-effective results in health care settings.
  • Provide direction for the development of the latest primary care programs that specifically address the health care needs of rural communities and underserved urban population.

Master Of Science In Nursing (MSN) Courses
A MSN degree may have courses that cover the following topics:

  • Nursing Issues and Trends
  • Population Focused Care
  • Research in Nursing
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Contemporary Clinical Practice
  • Introduction to Primary Care

Many universities are now offering online MSN degree programs. This is a great opportunity for RNs who are working full-time, but would like to enroll in a graduate degree program while continuing to work full-time.

Advanced Practice Nurse Certification

Certification may be obtained in the following fields:

  • Nursing Informatics
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nurse-Midwifery
  • NP Pediatrics
  • NP Palliative Care
  • NP Mental Health Nursing
  • NP Adult Primary Care
  • NP Adult Acute Care

Advanced Practice Nurse Salary
APNs have a great future; their employability is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008-2018. New graduates may earn an annual salary ranging from $60,000 -$90,000.

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