Advanced practice nurses are actually registered nurses who have earned advanced specialized degrees. Depending on the state where they exercise, they may have numerous of the same responsibilities as licensed physicians. Read on for more information about advanced practice nurses.
Advanced Practice Nurse Career Information
An advanced practice nurse can work as a certified nurse-midwife, a nurse anesthetist, a certified nurse specialist or a nurse practitioner. All of these job titles refer to registered nurses with advanced education, usually no less than a master’s degree in nursing.
Certified nurse-midwives provide gynecological care, family planning and neonatal care for women and infants. Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia before surgical procedures. A certified nurse specialist is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. Nurse practitioners can be primary caregivers, and they focus on prevention and wellness. Overall, advanced practice nurses can work in any virtually specialty, including acute care, cardiology, oncology, geriatrics, pediatrics and family practice.
As an advanced practice nurse, it is possible to examine, counsel and diagnose patients, as well as prescribe medicines. Upon becoming an advanced practice nurse, professionals can work with doctors or they can treat patients independently. They can order x-rays, laboratory tests and refer patients to specialists.
Advanced practice nurses work closely with other members of a patient’s medical team. They need to be caring and adaptable with good leadership abilities. They should be sympathetic and empathetic, with a natural desire to help others.
Advanced Practice Nurse Requirements
In order to begin a career as a registered nurse, either a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing or a diploma from an accredited school of nursing is required. It can take from two to four years to complete these nursing programs. Associate’s degrees take less time to earn, but training is not as intensive. Greater job opportunities exist for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing.
Requirements for advanced practice nurses are even more stringent, and at least a master’s degree in nursing practice is required. Advanced practice nurses must demonstrate superior clinical skills and be able to pass specialty tests, and the National Council Licensure Examination.
Advanced Practice Nurse Salary and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2013, registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $66,220, with most making between $45,630 and $96,320 a year. The BLS anticipates a higher-than-average job growth rate for registered nurses between 2012 and 2022, projecting a likely employment increase of 19% over the decade.
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