Four APN Roles: Describe the role, educational preparation, and work environment for the four APN roles (CNP, CNS, CRNA & CNM). Provide support from at least one scholarly source.
Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) are registered nurses who have earned a graduate-level degree in nursing, either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). APNs play a crucial role in the healthcare system as they provide advanced nursing care to patients, improve healthcare outcomes, and support the nursing profession. There are four areas of specialization for APNs: Certified Nursing Practitioners (CNPs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), and Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs). In this paper, we will examine the role, educational preparation, and work environment of each of these four APN roles.
CNPs are directly involved with the care of patients, serving as primary care providers and helping them in day-to-day activities. They are responsible for performing physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, providing guidance and counseling services, and writing prescriptions. CNPs must first become a registered nurse by acquiring a bachelor’s degree in nursing and obtaining licensure from the state in which they practice. After several years of experience as an RN, they can then pursue a master’s or doctorate degree in the area of their specialization and achieve certification by passing a state-administered nursing exam to become a CNP. CNPs can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, schools, community clinics, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, or private practice.
CNSs are advanced practice nurse experts who work in evidence-based practice nursing within one or multiple specialties. Unlike CNPs, they are indirectly involved in caring for patients. CNSs are responsible for ensuring that other nurses have the knowledge, skills, processes, policies, supplies, and equipment necessary to provide safe and effective care. CNSs also participate in hiring, firing, and disciplinary committees in clinical care situations. To become a CNS, one must follow the same educational path as a CNP, completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, obtaining licensure, and then pursuing a master’s or doctorate degree in their area of interest and obtaining certification. CNSs can practice in hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities, including gerontology, oncology, cardiology, and mental health.
CRNAs are APNs certified to administer anesthesia to patients during surgical, diagnostic, obstetrical, pain management, and therapeutic procedures. CRNAs are primarily responsible for overseeing anesthesia administration and monitoring patients during their recovery. To become a CRNA, one must first complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing and obtain licensure. After several years of experience as an RN, they can pursue a master’s or doctorate degree in their area of interest and pass the CRNA exams to become a certified CRNA. CRNAs can work in various medical settings, including hospitals, surgical centers, military facilities, outpatient care centers, public health centers, universities, and colleges.
CNMs are APNs involved in providing a full range of primary care health services to women from adolescence to beyond menopause. CNMs are responsible for providing primary care for women during pregnancy, including before, during, and after birth, and for treating male partners with reproductive health issues such as sexually transmitted diseases. To become a CNM, one must first become a registered nurse by completing a diploma, associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. They then complete a master’s program in nurse-midwifery and obtain certification by passing the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) exams. Most CNMs specialize in areas such as prenatal care, antepartum care, postpartum care, midwifery management, and health assessment. CNMs
Finn, Timothy P. Vigilance of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Diss. Loyola University Chicago, 2020.
Fraze, Taressa K., et al. “Role of nurse practitioners in caring for patients with complex health needs.” Medical care, 58.10 (2020): 853.
Hayes, W., Baker, N. R., Benson, P., & O’Keefe, L. C. (2023). The State of Advanced Practice Registered Nursing in Alabama. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 13(4), 44-53.
Mattison, Cristina A., et al. “A critical interpretive synthesis of the roles of midwives in health systems.” Health Research Policy and Systems 18.1 (2020): 1-16.
Moore, Amy, Kamie Parks, and Inola Mello. “Transitioning from RN to APRN.” Nursing made Incredibly Easy 18.2 (2020): 51-54.
Phillips, S. J. (2022). 34th Annual APRN Legislative Update: Trends in APRN practice authority during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Nurse Practitioner, 47(1), 21-47.
Sample Answer Guide II
Four APN Roles: Describe the function, educational prerequisites, and work environment of the four APN roles (CNP, CNS, CRNA & CNM). Provide support from a minimum of one scholarly source.
Advanced Practice nurses are registered nurses with a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing (DNP). CNP, CNS, CRNA, and CNM are the four areas of specialization from which an APN might choose to major.
Certified Nursing practitioners (CNPs) interact directly with patients, acting as primary care providers and assisting them with daily chores. A certified nurse practitioner’s responsibilities include conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, providing guidance and counseling, and writing prescriptions.
To become a CNP, one must first receive a bachelor’s degree and state certification as a registered nurse. To become a CNP, one must complete a master’s or doctoral school and pass a state-administered nursing exam after having practiced as an RN for some time. CNPs can specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics, family practice, women’s health, and psychiatric care. CNPs can work in hospitals, schools, community clinics, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and private practice, among other venues.
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice nurse expert who engages in evidence-based nursing practice in one or more areas of specialization. CNS are not directly involved in patient care, unlike CNPs. They guarantee that other nurses provide excellent and effective care based on evidence-based practices. It is their obligation to ensure that nurses have the essential knowledge, skills, procedures, policies, supplies, and equipment to provide safe and effective care. CNSs are also involved in recruiting, firing, and disciplinary panels whenever a clinical concern arises in patient care.
The path of become a CNS is comparable to that of a CNP. One must first become a registered nurse by finishing a four-year nursing program, obtaining licensing and certification in the state of practice, and passing a national certification exam. To become a CNS, one must next complete a master’s or doctoral program in the desired field of expertise and obtain certification. In hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, a CNS can practice in areas such as gerontology, oncology, cardiology, and mental health.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are APRNS-certified to deliver anesthesia to patients undergoing diagnostic, therapeutic, obstetric, and pain management procedures. A CRNA is primarily responsible for overseeing the administration of anesthesia during various medical operations and monitoring patients’ recovery.
Before becoming a CRNA, a person must complete a four-year nursing program and obtain a license. After several years of experience, individuals can sit for the tests to become RNs and subsequently pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in their desired profession. The final stage to becoming a qualified CRNA is completing the CRNA examinations. CRNAs can work in hospitals, surgical centers, military institutions, outpatient care centers, public health centers, universities, and colleges, among other medical settings.
A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is an APRN who provides comprehensive primary care services to women from youth to menopause and beyond. A CNM’s responsibilities include providing primary care to pregnant women before, during, and after childbirth. A CNM is also responsible for treating male partners with reproductive health concerns, such as sexually transmitted illnesses.
The educational path to becoming a CNM begins with obtaining a diploma, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in nursing and passing the NCLEX-RN to become a certified registered nurse. To become a CNM, the next step is to complete a master’s program in any nurse-midwifery school, followed by certification exams administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board. The majority of CNMs specialize in prenatal care, antepartum care, postpartum care, midwifery management, and health evaluation. A Certified Nurse Midwife can work in public and private hospitals, military hospitals, birthing centers, public health clinics, and in home care.
Goudreau, K. A. (2022). State-Level Implementation of the APRN Consensus Model: Progress to Date. Health Policy and Advanced Practice Nursing: Impact and Implications, 95.
Haney, B. (2023). 35th Annual APRN Legislative Update: Updates to APRN practice authority in the United States. The Nurse Practitioner, 48(1), 20-47.
Mr. Timothy P. Finn Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists’ vigilance 2020. Dissertation, Loyola University Chicago.
Fraze, Taressa K., et al. “The role of nurse practitioners in the care of patients with complex health requirements.” Medical care, 58.10 (2020): 853.
Mattison, Cristina A., et al. A critical interpretation of the functions of midwives within health systems. Health Research Systems and Policies 18.1 (2020): 1-16.
Transitioning from RN to APRN, by Amy Moore, Kamie Parks, and Inola Mello. Nursing made Extremely Straightforward 18.2 (2020): 51-54.