The nursing profession offers different levels and types of patient care based on the nurse’s education and training. An APRN (advanced practice registered nurse) is a registered nurse with postgraduate education, training and certification. Advanced practice nursing refers to nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists. These registered nurses function in areas that were solely the physicians’ area of responsibility.
Nurse Practitioners (NPs)
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Another option for advanced practice nursing is as a clinical nurse specialist. This APRN has clinical expertise in a specific setting such as critical care, emergency room, hospice and long-term care facilities; or a specific population such as pediatrics or geriatrics; or a particular type of health problem like pain, wounds or psychiatric. The primary focus of the CNS is continuous improvement of patient outcomes and nursing care. Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) not only serve as consultants they give direct patient care and are responsible and accountable for diagnosis, treatment, health promotion and prevention of illness.
Certified Nurse –Midwives (CNMs)
In addition to assisting with births, CNMs write prescriptions and give a variety of care: they perform gynecological exams, newborn care, prenatal care and health maintenance counseling. CNMs work with other medical professionals and make referrals when more medical advice or care is needed. CNMs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, birth centers and patient homes.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Many areas of knowledge and expertise that were exclusive to physicians have crossed over to nurses. This cross-over evolved into advanced practice nursing. As the evolution continues, many universities already have or are planning programs for the Doctor of Nursing Practice.