Roles, Educational Preparation, and Work Environment of Four APN Specialties

Roles, Educational Preparation, and Work Environment of Four APN Specialties

Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) are registered nurses who have obtained a graduate-level degree such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). APNs have the option to specialize in four areas: Certified Nursing Practitioners (CNPs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), and Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs). This paper describes the roles, educational preparation, and work environments of each of these specialties.

CNPs are involved in direct patient care, serving as primary care providers. They perform physical examinations, order diagnostic tests, provide counseling services, and prescribe medication. To become a CNP, one must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing and RN licensure, then complete a master’s or doctoral program and pass a state-administered nursing exam. CNPs can specialize in pediatrics, gerontology, family practice, women’s health, or psychiatric care, and work in various healthcare settings.

CNSs are expert nurses who work in evidence-based practice nursing within one or multiple specialization areas. They are indirectly involved in patient care, ensuring that other nurses provide safe and effective care by providing them with knowledge, skills, processes, policies, supplies, and equipment. CNSs are also involved in hiring, firing, and disciplinary committees. To become a CNS, one must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, RN licensure, and certification, followed by a master’s or doctoral program in the area of specialization and certification. CNSs can work in hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities specializing in areas such as gerontology, oncology, cardiology, and mental health.

CRNAs are APNs certified to administer anesthesia during various medical procedures and monitor patients’ recovery. To become a CRNA, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing and RN licensure, gain experience as an RN, sit for the RN exam, complete a master’s or doctoral program in the field of interest, and pass the CRNA exam. CRNAs can work in various medical settings such as hospitals, surgical centers, military facilities, outpatient care centers, public health centers, universities, and colleges.

CNMs are APNs involved in providing primary care health services to women, from adolescence to beyond menopause. They provide care for women during all stages of pregnancy and also treat male partners with reproductive health issues such as sexually transmitted diseases. To become a CNM, one must obtain a diploma associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, RN licensure, and certification, complete a master’s program in nurse-midwifery, and pass the American Midwifery Certification Board AMCB exams. CNMs can work in various healthcare settings such as public and private hospitals, military hospitals, birthing centers, public health clinics, and home care.

In conclusion, APNs play a vital role in healthcare, and the four specialties described in this paper have unique roles and educational preparation requirements. They work in various healthcare settings, ensuring that patients receive safe, effective, and quality care. Scholarly sources support the information provided in this paper, including Finn (2020), Fraze et al. (2020), Mattison et al. (2020), and Moore et al. (2020).

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.
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.

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