Nurse training and specialization are vital in addressing various health care issues. Apparently, there are numerous issues associated with health care, including global nurse shortages, the need to provide quality care, and the necessity to reduce the cost of care while augmenting patients’ outcomes.
Advanced training of nurses is extremely significant in solving issues related to nursing and healthcare. As such, APRNs play vital roles in the provision of quality care, especially to the vulnerable and the old (Blair & Jansen, 2015). For quality, and cost-effective healthcare to be provided to the public, therefore, it is important that more APRNs are trained and employed. This essay discusses the Advanced Nurse Practitioner scope of practice, paying key interest in adult-gerontology acute care nurse standards of practice.
APRNs possess vital knowledge and skills, which make significant contributions to health care (Blair & Jansen, 2015). An advanced practice nurse can be termed as a nurse with an expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills, and clinical competencies. On the other hand, acute care nurse practitioners are responsible for patients with higher levels of acuity and needs relative to primary care environments. As such, ACNPs require skills that combine advanced practice and acute care nursing (Fagerström, 2012). An Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner deals with treating patients from late adolescence, adulthood to old age.
The origin and development of the APRN concept
The Advanced Nurse Practitioner scope of practice emanates from the US in the 20th century. The concept emerged as an umbrella term for a number of nursing responsibilities in the advanced levels (Fagerström, 2012). Over time, APN has developed and evolved to become the current practices that comprise nurse practitioners (NPs), certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and other advanced nursing roles (Fitzgerald, Kantrowitz-Gordon, Katz, & Hirsch, 2012). In western countries, APRN has become a well-established professional group, especially over the last two decades (Fagerström, 2012)
The APRN/AGNP roles and scope of practice
The scope of practice for adult-gerontology can be broadly categorized into two major fields, including acute care and primary care, subject to what individual nurses opt to specialize and pursue.
The adult-gerontology acute care is the focus of this paper and, therefore, will be described in a relatively more detailed approach. To start with, an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) in acute care is responsible for treating illnesses. As such, nurses who specialize in adult-gerontology acute care work in inpatient or hospital settings. Their major roles include carrying out diagnoses and providing the most appropriate and the most accurate treatments to patients.
Clearly, the advanced nurse practitioners’ scope of practice is wide and oftentimes independent from other physicians’ roles (Fitzgerald, Kantrowitz-Gordon, Katz, & Hirsch, 2012). They work in various sectors in healthcare facilities including emergency departments, intensive care units, various labs, or specialty clinics.
Different bodies and different health systems provide specific scopes of practice for adult-gerontologists who specialize in acute care. For instance, in the US, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has a clearly defined scope of practice for these advanced nursing practitioners (Sechel Ventures, 2016).
The AACN stipulates that advanced practitioners should provide specialized treatment to patients. First, an AGNP nurse is responsible for stabilizing patients’ conditions. Oftentimes, patients who are taken to emergency rooms, the intensive care units, and other inpatients are in relatively unstable conditions. The cardinal role of the AGNP is to stabilize the patients’ conditions to allow proper treatment.
Second, AGNPs have the responsibility of ensuring that complications are prevented. All patients should be handled in manners that will minimize the chances of making their conditions more complex for treatment than they already are.
Third, AGNPs strive to restore their patients’ optimal health. This is done by providing the best care and treatment. Lastly, AGNPs provide palliative care to their patients. Patients require psychological treatment and care. As such, AGNPs should have the skills to provide comforting care (Sechel Ventures, 2016).
Consequently, for AGNPs to be successful in their scope of practice, they should have excellent skills and knowledge in carrying out diagnoses, giving accurate and appropriate medical prescriptions, monitoring medication exercises, and providing appropriate specialist referrals where necessary (Fagerström, 2012).
In addition, AGNPs should demonstrate compassion and show a willingness to collaborate with their patients to get the best care plan and approach for augmented outcomes. On the same note, AGNPs must be emotionally stable to deal with the associated stress, especially in advanced practice (Fagerström, 2012).
Lastly, AGNPs should work meticulously paying attention to each detail, which includes communicating efficiently with the patients and all stakeholders, while providing leadership to junior nurses (Fagerström, 2012).
It is evident that advanced nursing practitioners’ scope of practice is crucial in healthcare delivery. APRNs play important roles in ensuring that quality care is provided to all at affordable costs. AGNPs with acute care specialty is advanced nursing practitioners with skills and knowledge to deal with patients from adolescence to old age. Their scope of practice entails stabilizing patients’ conditions, preventing and minimizing complications during care delivery and treatment, treating patients with the objective of restoring normal health, and offering palliative care to patients.
To be successful in their practice, AGNPs should have diagnostic, treating, prescribing, and referral skills.
Blair, K. A., & Jansen, M. P. (2015). Advanced Practice Nursing , Fifth Edition: Core Concepts for Professional Role Development 5th Edition. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Fagerström, L. (2012). The Impact of Advanced Practice Nursing in Healthcare: recipe for developing countries. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 19(1), 1-2. Web.
Fitzgerald, C., Kantrowitz-Gordon, I., Katz, J., & Hirsch, A. (2012). Advanced Practice Nursing Education: Challenges and Strategies. Nursing Research and Practice, 2012 (2012), 1-8.
Sechel Ventures. (2016). What is an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner? Web.