Advanced Practice Nursing (APN)
A growing field for students who want to learn the skills of nursing, but want to do more with those same skills is advanced practice nursing. While the definition of advanced practice nursing is broad, the applications of these skill sets are specific and vital for patient care.
The first subset of advanced practice nursing is a nurse practitioner (NP). This is a specialist who has many of the same duties as a physician, without the residency and longer schooling program. A nurse practitioner is able to diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions as well as prescribe medications. This allows this kind of nurse to work within a medical office setting in much the same way as a physician, while allowing the physician to treat more complicated conditions. A nurse practitioner can also give physicals and needed injections as well as work to educate a patient on how to prevent health problems from occurring.
Another form of advanced practice nursing is a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). This is a nurse who works closely with a surgeon in the operating room to make sure that a patient remains unconscious for their procedures and is responding well to the medications given. Unlike an anesthesiologist, a nurse anesthetist doesn’t require the longer residency and training program, though they are well trained for any complications that may arise in the operating room.
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is another advanced practice nursing specialty. This specialist can be focused in many different health care settings and specialties, including cardiac, neonatology, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, mental health, and neurology. Many of these advanced practice nurses can be found in specialist offices so that patients can receive the particular care that they need for their conditions or illnesses.
A certified nurse midwife is another advanced practice nursing program. A midwife is able to give a mother prenatal care as well as deliver the baby when there are no major complications. Many of these certified midwives work in conjunction with hospitals in order to be able to give the woman options should complications arise, i.e. the need for a Caesarean section. This advanced practice nurse can also provide post-delivery care to healthy women.
An advanced practice nurse still gives all of the time and attention that they can to a patient, but will have more training to handle more complicated issues. This skill set allows an advanced practice nurse to earn anywhere from $50,000 – $100,000 annually, depending on experience.
Interested in advanced practice nursing? You’ll need a nursing degree first. Begin your search for a school here: