Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner
Advanced Practice Nursing
Innovative advances in health care make frequent headlines, but there is an equally innovative, if somewhat misunderstood, treatment for the cost and accessibility woes plaguing the United States health care system. Almost 140,000 advanced practice nurses -- and their numbers are growing -- are carving out a new role in delivering timely, cost-effective, quality health care. With an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention and a proven record of providing excellent primary care in diverse settings, advanced practice nurses form a critical link in the solution to America's health care crisis.
Who Are These Nurses?
The advanced practice nurse (APN) is an umbrella term given to a registered nurse (RN) who has met advanced educational and clinical practice requirements beyond the 2 to 4 years of basic nursing education required of all RNs. Under this umbrella fall four principal types of APNs.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Advanced Practice Nurses Are Accessible. . .
As well as working in primary care medical practices, they provide pre-employment physicals for employers, home health care to the elderly, health education in hospitals, schools, and community clinics, geriatric care in nursing homes, infectious disease control in prisons, pre- and post-natal care in inner-city and rural clinics, and psychotherapy in public and private practices.
Advanced Practice Nurses Are Cost-Effective . . .
Advanced practice nurses aren't low-priced doctor substitutes. They are first and foremost registered nurses, a profession with its own educational and licensing requirements, regulatory oversight by boards of nursing in all 50 states, and competency standards and continuing education requirements. APNs are skilled in performing a wide range of initial, or primary, health services, especially screening and preventive services, that if ignored, can lead to far more serious and costly health problems down the line.
Advanced Practice Nurses Deliver Quality Health Care. . .
All advanced practice nurses must meet rigorous education, certification, and continuing education requirements. Standards of practice are set and monitored by nursing professional organizations. Advanced practice nurses work collaboratively with physicians and other health professionals to coordinate health services for the best outcome for the patient.
Information provided courtesy of the American Nurses Association.