Four APN Roles: Describe the role, educational preparation, and work environment for the four APN roles (CNP, CNS, CRNA & CNM). Provide support from at least one scholarly source.
Advanced Practice nurses are registered nurses who have earned a graduate-level degree, Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN), or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). There are four areas of specialty from which an APN can choose to major in; CNP, CNS, CRNA, and CNM.
Certified Nursing practitioners (CNPs) are directly involved with the patients serving as primary care providers and helping them in day-to-day activities. Duties of a certified nursing practitioner include performing physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, providing guidance and counseling services, and writing prescriptions.
To become a CNP, one must first become a registered nurse by acquiring a bachelor’s degree and obtaining licensure from the state of practice. After practicing as an RN for some time, one should pursue a master’s or a doctorate program and achieve certification by passing a state-administered nursing exam to become a CNP. Areas of specialization for CNPs include pediatrics, gerontology, family practice, women’s health, and psychiatric. CNPs can work in various health care settings, including hospitals, schools, community clinics, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, or private practice.
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice nurse expert who works in evidence-based practice nursing within one or multiple specializations areas. Unlike CNPs, CNS are indirectly involved in caring for the patients. They take care of other nurses to ensure they extend quality and effective care based on available evidence. It is their responsibility to ensure that the nurses have the necessary knowledge, skills, processes, policies, supplies, and equipment required for safe and effective care. CNSs are also involved in the hiring, firing, and disciplinary committees wherever there is a clinical issue in care.
The educational path of becoming a CNS is similar to that of a CNP. One must first become a registered nurse by completing a four-year degree nursing program, acquiring licensure and certification in the state of practice. One then proceeds to complete a master’s or doctorate program in the interest area of specialization and acquiring certification to become a CNS. A CNS can practice in hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities in areas like gerontology, oncology, cardiology, and mental health.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are APRNS certified to administer anesthesia to patients during surgical, diagnostic, obstetric, pain management, and therapeutic procedures. Basically, a CRNA is primarily involved in overseeing anesthesia administration during different medical procedures and monitoring the patients during their recovery.
A person looking to became a CRNA must first complete a four-year degree nursing program and acquire licensure. After several years of practice, they can sit for the exams to become RNs and then proceed to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree in the field of interest. The final step is passing the CRNA exams to become a certified CRNA. CRNAs can work in various medical settings, including hospitals, surgical centers, military facilities, outpatient care centers, public health centers, universities, and colleges.
A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is an APRN involved in giving a full range of primary care health services to women from adolescence to beyond menopause. The roles of a CNM include providing primary care for women in all stages of pregnancy, including before, during, and after birth. A CNM is also involved in administering treatment for male partners with reproductive health issues like sexually transmitted diseases.
The educational journey of becoming a CNM begins with becoming a registered nurse by completing a diploma associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and then passing the NCLEX-RN to become a certified registered nurse. The next step is to complete a master’s program in any nurse-midwifery program and then go ahead to acquire certification by sitting for the American Midwifery Certification Board AMCB Exams to become a CNM. Most CNMs specialize in areas like prenatal care, antepartum care, postpartum care, midwifery management, and health assessment. A CNM can work in public and private hospitals, military hospitals, birthing centers, public health clinics, and home care.
Finn, Timothy P. Vigilance of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Diss. Loyola University Chicago, 2020.
Fraze, Taressa K., et al. “Role of nurse practitioners in caring for patients with complex health needs.” Medical care, 58.10 (2020): 853.
Mattison, Cristina A., et al. “A critical interpretive synthesis of the roles of midwives in health systems.” Health Research Policy and Systems 18.1 (2020): 1-16.
Moore, Amy, Kamie Parks, and Inola Mello. “Transitioning from RN to APRN.” Nursing made Incredibly Easy 18.2 (2020): 51-54.