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Advanced Practice Nurses in Primary Family Care

Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse

According to the American Nurses Association (n.d.), the role of advanced practice nurses (APNs) includes performing care through assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. APNs provide counseling to patients and their families, conduct health examinations and diagnosis, maintain patient records, refer individuals to other medical professionals, and evaluate patients’ recovery progress.

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The study by Woo, Lee, and Tam (2017) proves that nurses can have a considerable impact on clinical outcomes by providing high-quality service as their assistance can significantly increase patient satisfaction and safety, decrease the level of mortality, and eliminate the costs of critical care. It means that the role of advanced practice nurses is core for individuals’ wellbeing and recovery, as they are always in contact with their patients and their responsibilities are aimed to improve people’s conditions.

Family Nurse Practitioners in Primary Care

Evidence shows that the role of nurses, including family nurse practitioners (FNPs), in primary care is essential. Notably, their performance can provide the same level of clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction as the physicians’ one (Swan, Ferguson, Chang, Larson, & Smaldone, 2015). FNPs can make a significant contribution to primary care patients, as they have the necessary education and skills for patient assessment in the context of a family.

For example, family care nurses can assess the influence of culture, society, and family on individuals’ conditions, and provide necessary treatment. They can also assist patients from their childhood to adulthood, ensuring the consistency of care. Family nurse practitioners’ work is based on a collaborative and family-centered approach, which contributes to the welcoming environment for individuals.

Improving Patient Outcomes

Using an evidence-based approach is crucial for nursing; however, it is not the only factor influencing the results of treatment. For example, caregivers should follow clinical practice guidelines and can implement the results of studies into their practice to ensure the best quality of their work. Nevertheless, they can also adjust their working methods to the needs of individuals that they observe in their work.

For example, Roots and MacDonald (2014) suggest several strategies that can improve patient outcomes. For instance, family nurse practitioners enhance the duration of visit for each person. It can result in better care planning, improved patient engagement in treatment, and reduced need for future appointments. Moreover, the nurses can develop an individual approach to every individual or a family considering their cultural background. It could improve the patient-practitioner relationship and provide individuals with responsive care.

Skills and Traits of a Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner should be competent and knowledgeable; however, good expertise is not the only trait that enhances nurses’ performance. Nurse practitioners should also have strong communication skills, as often they are patients’ advocates and the first people with whom individuals discuss their concerns. It is crucial for nurses to have a framework of ethics as well, which ensures that they provide compassionate care and are concerned about people’s conditions and dignity.

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As the work of medical professionals is associated with high levels of stress, nurse practitioners should be able to adapt to emergency situations, fluctuating working hours, and high demands of patients. It is also vital for them to be committed to providing the best quality of care, continuing their formal and informal education, and learning how they can improve their methods of assessment and treatment.


The American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Advanced practice registered nurses. Web.

Roots, A., & MacDonald, M. (2014). Outcomes associated with nurse practitioners in collaborative practice with general practitioners in rural settings in Canada: A mixed methods study. Human Resources for Health, 12. Web.

Swan, M., Ferguson, S., Chang, A., Larson, E., & Smaldone, A. (2015). Quality of primary care by advanced practice nurses: A systematic review. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 27(5), 396-404.

Woo, B. F. Y., Lee, J. X. Y., & Tam, W. W. S. (2017). The impact of the advanced practice nursing role on quality of care, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and cost in the emergency and critical care settings: A systematic review. Human Resources for Health, 15. Web.

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