What is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse?

The profession of nursing is defined by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (www.ncsbn.org) as follows:

Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN): An RN who has a graduate degree and advanced knowledge. There are four categories of APRNs: certified nurse-midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse practitioner (CNP) or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). These nurses can diagnose illnesses, and prescribe treatments and medications.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. They may focus on health promotion and disease prevention. A nurse practitioner may order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x rays and may prescribe medication. Nurse practitioners must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education for example, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, Family Practice Nurse Practitione or Cardiology Nurse Practitioner.

Advanced practice registered nurses work in hospitals, physicians' offices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities. They also work in correctional facilities, schools, summer camps, and with the military.

Advanced practice registered nurses are typically registered nurses with a specialized graduate education. The number of advanced practice registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur primarily because of technological advancements; an increased emphasis on preventative care; and the large, aging baby-boomer population who will demand more healthcare services as they live longer and more active lives.

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