Nowadays, there is a global tendency that aims at improving the quality of healthcare by reviewing the roles of practitioners, including nurses. According to the modern approach, nurses are encouraged to pursue an advanced practice, which consists of more in-depth training at the master’s level and an enhanced role in the healthcare system. Such an approach allows for nurses’ broader engagement in the medical processes and enhances their areas of expertise. The objective of this paper is to examine the benefits of an advanced practice degree for practicing nurses and the health system.
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Reasons for Pursuing an Advanced Nursing Degree
The nature of advanced nursing reflects modern tendencies in terms of healthcare quality and accessibility. According to the United States Institute of Medicine (2011), the Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced in 2010 set the vision for the country’s health system development. Consequently, new initiatives were implemented in order to increase the quality and cost-efficiency of health services. Accordingly, the system encourages practicing nurses to pursue a higher degree and work on more advanced tasks. Goldsberry (2018) states that today’s healthcare delivery situation is as complex and fragmented as ever, which calls for an increased level of interprofessional cooperation. The concept of such cooperation implies that nurses should take an active part in all processes alongside other practitioners. Therefore, current circumstances require that strong leaders emerge among nurses to tackle numerous topical issues. One of the objectives of an advanced degree is to teach nurses new indispensable competencies and develop their leadership skills, which will help them fully realize their potential during future practices. As a result, an advanced degree in nursing will provide practitioners with important skills relevant in today’s landscape.
Advanced Nursing Degree’s Role in Patient-Centered Care and Decision-Making
As mentioned above, nowadays there is a high demand for strong leaders among medical professional groups, including nurses. Effective decision-making is one of the crucial competencies of a leader, and an advanced degree prepares nurses for this role. On the other hand, decision-making in healthcare requires the participation of different professional groups. Therefore, this concept correlates with the vision described by the U.S. Institute of Medicine (2011), according to which nurses should be considered rightful partners with other members of the staff. Subsequently, nurses’ participation in decision-making, which requires an advanced degree, follows the principle of interprofessional collaboration envisioned by the system.
In addition, advanced nursing correlates with the concept of patient-centered care, which promotes health services accessibility, as well as its overall focus on the patient’s needs and preferences. Due to the position’s particularities, nurses work directly with patients on a closer level than other practitioners. Therefore, they should be encouraged to enhance their areas of expertise in order to translate in-depth knowledge into actual patient support. As a matter of fact, research shows that advanced practice nurses’ involvement in the process brings substantial results. Weber et al. (2020) concluded that delirium patients who had consultations with advanced practice nurses demonstrate significant improvements in respect to their conditions. Overall, the research shows that advanced education allows nurses to perform more efficiently in terms of patient-centered care and partake in decision-making on equal terms with other practitioners.
Advanced Nursing Degree’s Role in Career Advancement
Modern views on healthcare encourage deep transformations of the system, and the nurses play a crucial part in the process. An advanced degree allows nurses to opt for one of four careers in the United States, as listed by Parker and Hill (2017): “clinical specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists” (para. 8). Therefore, there is an opportunity for nurses to become either a generalist or a specialist and pursue a particular sphere within the healthcare system. Parker and Hill (2017) also state that advanced degrees lead to a greater level of appreciation and recognition of nurses while allowing them to engage in treatment evaluation and decision-making. Logically, a higher level of recognition implies better career opportunities. The U.S. Institute of Medicine (2011) envisions a seamless progression path for nurses, beginning with academic levels and continuing into their professional advancement. Therefore, an advanced degree makes it easier for nurses to receive due recognition and progress in their careers.
Additionally, the healthcare system is currently on the path of profound transformation. The U.S. Institute of Medicine (2011) relies on the Affordable Care Act as the primary impetus of new initiative implementation. However, as mentioned above, health services are envisioned to be not only affordable but also patient-oriented and cost-efficient. Advanced practice nurses fit into the new system perfectly, as their involvement corresponds with all the criteria. In fact, their increasingly important role has become the manifestation of the system’s revision. Therefore, an advanced degree offers nurses a variety of opportunities to become a vital element of the redesigned 21st-century healthcare.
In conclusion, today’s healthcare is characterized by profound changes that encompass the system in general. Advanced nursing practice correlates with the modern vision proposed by the Affordable Care Act and other recommendations of official institutions. There is currently a demand for qualified specialists from all areas of expertise within the healthcare system in accordance with the increased interprofessional collaboration strategy. An advanced nursing degree provides practitioners with in-depth knowledge and serves to develop their leadership skills highly required by the modern landscape. Accordingly, nurses who obtain an advanced degree will be able to lead the way in transforming the healthcare system alongside other specialists. Overall, advanced education presents an array of substantial benefits for both nurses and the system in general, serving to make high-quality healthcare affordable.
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Goldsberry, J. W. (2018). Advanced practice nurses leading the way: Interprofessional collaboration. Nurse Education Today, 65, 1–3. Web.
Institute of Medicine (U.S.) Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. National Academies Press.
Parker, J. M., & Hill, M. N. (2017). A review of advanced practice nursing in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), China. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 4(2), 196–204.
Weber, C., Fierz, K., Katapodi, M., & Hasemann, W. (2020). An advanced practice nurse‐led delirium consultation service reduces delirium severity and length of stay in orthopedic patients: A nonrandomized posttest only evaluation study. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care. Web.