Who is an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN)?

There is much confusion related to what constitutes an advanced practice nurse (APRN). Role misperceptions, misuse of titles, inaccurate job descriptions, and lack of knowledge by both health care and consumer groups contribute to the misunderstanding. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing defines an advanced practice nurse as an RN who has completed an accredited graduate level nursing program in one of the four recognized APRN roles: Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwife, or Clinical Nurse Specialist. These nurses must pass a national certification examination that measures APRN role, and population-focused competencies. This is a direct patient care role requiring advanced clinical knowledge and skills, i.e., a greater depth and breadth of knowledge, the ability to synthesize data, and a hallmark increased autonomy in nursing practice. These nurses are prepared to assume the responsibility and accountability for health promotion and/or maintenance including the use and prescription of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions. Individual state boards of nursing should be consulted related to recognition of role, certification requirements, level of independent practice, and prescriptive authority.

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NCSBN. APRN Consensus Model. Retrieved Jan. 11, 2012 from https://www.ncsbn.org/aprn.htm#definition
OR Manager Magazine. Opportunities grow for advanced practice RNs. Retrieved Sept. 2012.