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Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN)


If you like clinical challenges, you can build on your RN knowledge and consider becoming an APRN or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. APRNs include certified nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. In addition to a roll you will also focus in at least one of the six populations (family/across the life span, adult-gerontology, women’s health, pediatrics, neonatal or psychiatric-mental health.) All these roles make valuable contributions patients and to healthcare delivery.

How will my scope of practice change if I become an APRN?

Each APRN role and population has specific graduate level education that will permit you to obtain national board certification for an APRN license. Your scope of practice—or what you will be able to do as an APRN—will depend on the specific APRN role and population you choose.  You can expect to assume responsibility and accountability for health promotion and/or maintenance as well as the assessment, diagnosis, and management of patient problems which includes the use and prescription of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions of patients in at least one of the six populations identified above.

Your scope of practice—or what you will be able to do as an APRN—will depend on the specific APRN role and population you choose.

Let’s take a closer look at each type of APRN role:

Nurse Practitioners provide direct primary or acute care along the wellness-illness continuum across settings in one of the 6 populations.

Certified Nurse-Midwives provide the full range of primary health care services to women throughout the life span including gynecological, reproductive health care, prenatal and postpartum care, childbirth, and care of the newborn in a variety of settings.

Clinical Nurse Specialists integrate care across the continuum of care and through three spheres of influence -patient, nurse and system with the primary goal of continuous improvement of patient outcomes and nursing care and is responsible and accountable for diagnosis and treatment of health/illness states, disease management, health promotion, and prevention of illness among individuals, families, groups and communities.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists provide a full range of a patient’s anesthesia care and anesthesia related care for individuals across the lifespan in a wide range of settings.

How do I become an APRN?

You will need complete a nationally accredited graduate program that corresponds to a specific APRN role and population and pass the nationally accredited certification that matches the graduate program.  Be sure to research admission criteria and program expectations before applying. Also check out the school’s requirements for student clinical experiences to assure that the program offers the right fit for you.