Advanced Practice Nurses’ Major Roles


In recent decades there has been a change in the field of nursing education. Practical training gives way to an education that involves a broad awareness of other disciplines related to medicine. These changes are in full accord with the results of a year-long debate among nurse educators themselves, the broader health professions community, and society at large. These specialists dispute the purpose of health professions education in the United States.

As usual, arguments have been made for an ideal balance between practical training and future nurses’ mastery of the academic foundational knowledge base. The creation of a nursing development strategy has been and continues to be one of the activities undertaken to improve the health care situation. This process takes place through widely known initiatives leading to the support and strengthening of nursing. Improving the health care system is directly related to increasing the number of advanced practice nurses, whose role is to provide the highest quality of care. The role transition from a registered nurse (RN) to an advanced practice nurse (APN) can often be accompanied by difficulties, such as losing confidence, worsening unemployment, and others. However, it is a necessary step in every nurse’s career development. The purpose of the paper is to describe the four major roles of advanced practice nurses and discuss future plans for clinical practice after graduation.

Four APN Roles

A registered nurse has at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing and has passed the National Council of State Boards of Nursing certification exam. Such employees provide direct patient care and assist physicians with medical procedures. They also supervise medical equipment and work with patients’ families. Certified nurse practitioners (CNPs) are nurses who have completed additional education and mastered a more specific specialty, such as pediatrics. They have a master’s degree in nursing and a certificate confirming mastery of a particular specialty. If they work in pediatrics, for example, they must have skills and training in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. CNPs are authorized to diagnose diseases, treat illnesses, and provide science-based health information to their patients.

A clinical nurse specialist, in turn, has a master’s or doctoral degree. Their work extends beyond just treating and diagnosing patients – they also carry out health care management and research. A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) supervises the patient’s condition during surgery, intensive care, and resuscitation (Boyd & Poghosyan, 2017). Such a staff member is also responsible for recording the use and dosage of medications during pre-anesthesia preparation, anesthesia, and the post-anesthesia period. Besides, CRNA organizes and conducts nursing care for postoperative patients (Boyd & Poghosyan, 2017). A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is an advanced practice registered nurse who is comprehensively trained, primarily providing care to women of all ages throughout life. Such specialists function as primary care providers for women and most often provide medical care to relatively healthy women whose health and delivery are considered uncomplicated.

Rationale for Choosing CNP Role

The introduction of new roles in nursing is a cost-effective course with tangible financial benefits for society as a whole. Role transitions in nursing include the transfer of competencies from the physician to the nurse in order to allocate tasks to individual and single professions correctly. In the U.S., for example, there is a growing importance of the advanced practice registered nurse. As of January 1, 2016, the country introduced new qualifications for nurses (Hu & Forgeron, 2018). These employees can now prescribe certain groups of medications, food products, and medical devices, which is a response to the changes taking place in the profession. It is safe to say that this is a new milestone in the development of nursing.

My decision to become a CNP stems from a desire to help disadvantaged people. I want to do everything in my power to help patients with their health problems. My choice was also motivated by a number of life circumstances, including the illness of my family member. In addition, I believe that CNPs have a broader scope than CRNAs, for example. Besides, they are able to have a great impact on patients by teaching them techniques to stay healthy, which helps recover more quickly. These are reasons that explain my desire to become a certified nurse practitioner.

Plans for Clinical Practice

Experience shows that higher education affects the quality of a nurse’s work. More often than not, after completing a bachelor’s degree, such a professional does not leave their profession, as they see wide prospects for self-fulfillment. This is what I am going to do after I graduate. I plan to develop in obstetrics, and I would like to try to work in a private clinic with other professionals in my field. I am not sure yet, but my dream is to get a doctor’s degree, but combining studies and work will be a problem. A nurse with a doctoral degree has more employment opportunities for jobs of an administrative and managerial nature. They can also find interesting and rewarding jobs in health care organizations, acting as experts or consultants. Perhaps that will be my path, but I have no clear plans for now. Earlier I thought it would be enough to get registered nurse status, but now I realize that I need to constantly improve my skills and knowledge. Analyzing the four roles of the ANP allowed me to understand which of these areas is the most interesting to me.

Role Transition

The transition from being a nurse to being an NP is likely to be difficult because I do not always manage stress easily. The latter is not uncommon among nurses on the path to advanced practice (Hernandez, 2019). The transition in my case may be influenced by factors such as life circumstances, the success of my training, and the support of my colleagues. Relationships within the staff training and development team will also have an impact on how easily I am able to handle the process. One strategy that will allow me to successfully make the transition is to make social media contacts with members of my profession. I also plan to attend social events sponsored by my company to meet representatives from other departments.


International studies show that strengthening nursing and investing in the human resources of nursing brings invaluable benefits to patients and the entire health care system. As a result of this process, waiting times for medical services are reduced, and the population’s access to medical care increases. Nursing development also results in lower hospital mortality rates and reduced hospital stays. I understand that my journey to becoming an advanced practice nurse will be challenging, but I am confident that I will succeed and become a top-notch CPN.


Boyd, D., & Poghosyan, L. (2017). Certified registered nurse anesthetist working conditions and outcomes: A review of the literature. AANA journal, 85(4), 261–269.

Hernandez, B. (2019). RN to APN role transition. Western Michigan University.

Hu, J., & Forgeron, P. (2018). Thinking, educating, acting: Developing advanced practice nursing. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 5(2), 99–100. Web.

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