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Advanced Practice Nursing Professional Development Plan


Advanced practice nursing (APN) is the highest qualification for a nurse’s work. It implies a high degree of knowledge gained through both education and experience as well as advanced skills that permit the nurse to work as a specialist in fields such as anesthetics or midwifery without requiring the supervision of a doctor. To become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), one needs to accumulate a significant number of qualifying factors. A plan is required for the completion of that goal, and the purpose of this essay is to formulate the program’s steps.

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APN Scope of Practice

As APN is the highest general qualification a nurse can possess, it comes with the greatest amount of freedom of practice. APRNs can work independently or under medical specialists and may continue carrying out a general role or choose a specialization. Different states and countries have varying laws regarding the scope of practice for APNs, but there is a generally shared base that will be described below.

APRNs are generally divided into four categories, two of which are highly specialized, while the other two are broader, although the nurse usually still focuses on a single area. According to Joel (2017), these roles are the certified nurse-midwife (CNM), the certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), the clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and the nurse practitioner (NP). Each of the roles is vital, and they cover various areas without significant overlap while leading and developing their respective fields.

CNMs focus their efforts on assisting women with childbirth and performing associated health services to ensure the mothers’ and children’s well-being. CRNAs assist during surgeries and other procedures, administering anesthesia and ensuring the patient’s safety while the specialists perform the necessary operations. CNSs select a narrow area of medicine, such as geriatrics or long-term care, and provide clinical expertise and leadership for that discipline.

NPs provide high-quality general care for patients and education for their families and collaborate with others to provide health services to communities. According to DeNisco and Barner (2015), NPS enjoy a greater diversity of work but are allowed to work without the supervision of a medical specialist less often while CNSs are permitted to practice and prescribe independently in numerous states.

The state of Florida heavily regulates APRN practice, requiring the supervision of a physician for them to practice and prescribe (The Florida Senate, 2018). The requirements for becoming an APN are a master’s degree in nursing with specialized preparation and certification by an appropriate specialty board. APNs are in demand in all manners of medical institutions in Florida as well as nationwide, and in certain states, Florida not being one, they can practice independently.

I have not yet selected the specialization I intend to aim towards, and therefore I will choose to become a nursing practitioner as my temporary goal for this plan. The knowledge of a nursing practitioner would still be valuable to me in other fields of APN practice, and I would be able to focus on an area if I decided to aim for a different role. As such, I will be evaluating my general knowledge about care and planning to expand my overall knowledge base to fit the generalist approach of the NP role.

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Personal Assessment

A plan for becoming an APRN must necessarily involve the improvement of my abilities and knowledge. As such, it is vital to estimate my proficiency as a nurse first, and I will use Benner’s (1984) model of clinical competence to achieve that goal. The model consists of five stages, and the person that is testing himself or herself has to evaluate their ability in a given skill on a scale of novice to expert.

According to Benner (1984), the five stages of proficiency are the novice, the advanced beginner, the competent nurse, the proficient nurse, and the expert nurse. The novice has no experience in a situation, and the advanced beginner may be efficient and skillful in some parts of the area. Competent nurses have been on the job for two or three years, are efficient, and can formulate plans. Proficient nurses perceive the situation as a whole and adjust their plans based on anticipated developments while keeping long-term goals in mind. Lastly, the expert displays a complete understanding of the situation and intuitively takes the best actions without wasting time on incorrect considerations, being able to deal even with situations with which he or she has no prior experience.

I believe my overall experience to be at the level of a proficient nurse. I have been practicing for over three years, but I do not think I am competent enough to believe myself a proficient nurse. I am familiar with most aspects of my work and can perform them at a satisfactory level. However, I need more experience to establish a complete understanding of the situations I encounter in my work. I can formulate plans, but I have to create them every time instead of having a robust framework that can be modified, which would be expected of a proficient nurse.

Becoming an expert is preferable if I intend to become an APRN, and to achieve that, I will need to expand my knowledge base. It is necessary to acquire more practical experience and deeply investigate the theoretical knowledge in the field. Furthermore, I will need to refine my analytical thinking abilities and formulate a framework that describes nursing situations as a whole and allows me to create plans by modifying the base structure.

Networking and Marketing Strategies

An APRN is expected to actively follow the developments in nursing and possibly contribute to them. As such, they have to understand the networking and marketing strategies employed by nurses in the present environment. Using these approaches is vital to learning and implementing new ideas regarding nursing practice and organization. Furthermore, the appropriate use of strategies by professional leaders, which APRNs are intended to be, is critical to the promotion of the profession.

Networking is the creation of an interconnected system of individuals with similar goals and interests to share information and offer support to each other. According to Taplay, Jack, Baxter, Eva, and Martin (2014), it is a powerful strategy that can be employed to establish relationships between hospitals, community healthcare organizations, and educational institutions. Networking can be used to share information as well as resources and is especially useful in developing new initiatives, as it is possible to find and contact people who may be interesting in its implementation through one’s acquaintances who share an interest in the area.

On the other hand, marketing is vital to nurses because they are the medical employees who directly interact with patients considerably more than those in different lines of work. As a result, nurses are often responsible for maintaining the public image of their institutions and the prestige of their profession. According to Benceković, Benko, Režek, and Grgas-Bile (2016), the demand for nurses is growing, and it is greater than the supply, which leads to a lack of nurses. As such, it is necessary to employ marketing strategies to attract people to the profession. The authors recommend connecting with others, developing partnerships, maintaining high professional standards, implementing new models of education, using tools such as the media and the Internet, and strengthening the profession itself.

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As a member of the profession, I believe that I have to participate in networking and marketing strategies. I intend to establish or join a network of contacts with whom I have common interests, and I plan to follow the recommendations for the marketing presentation of my profession to the best of my ability. These measures should help me grow as a professional, and the knowledge I expect to gain can prove valuable if I become a professional leader.


I have not selected a specific field of advanced nursing practice that I want to work in, and as a result, I have chosen becoming a nurse practitioner as my temporary goal for this plan. Using Benner’s stages of competence, I determined that I fulfill the criteria for being a proficient nurse. This result needs improvement if I want to become an APRN, and therefore I need to work on my knowledge, experience, and analytical abilities. I have also investigated the networking and marketing strategies employed by modern nurses, and I intend to observe their use and participate in the implementation of these methods in my work. As this plan covers most of the requirements necessary for APRN certification, I believe that I can achieve my goal by following it.


Benceković, Ž., Benko, I., Režek, B., & Grgas-Bile, C. (2016). The role and promotion of nursing. Acta Clin Croat, 55(2), 271-278.

Benner, P. (1984). From novice to expert: Excellence and power in clinical nursing practice. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley.

DeNisco, M. D., & Barner, A. M. (2015). Advanced practice nursing: Essential knowledge for the profession (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Joel, L. A. (2017). Advanced practice nursing: Essentials for role development. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis Company.

Taplay, K., Jack, S. M., Baxter, P., Eva, K., & Martin, L. (2014). “Negotiating, navigating, and networking”: Three strategies used by nursing leaders to shape the adoption and incorporation of simulation into nursing curricula — A grounded theory study. ISRN Nursing, 2014. Web.

The Florida Senate (2018). Chapter 464: Nursing. Web.

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