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Advanced Practice Nurses: Key Roles

Advanced practice nurses (APNs) prepared to fulfill a variety of roles, which tend to differ in their core activities and fields of practice. However, the distinction between the roles does not appear restrictive. Moreover, all the roles are united by the same aim, which consists of providing high-quality care and continually improving it.

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There are several key roles that an APN can perform (Dreher & Glasgow, 2016; Purdue & Roberts, 2014). The primary role that is used in clinical practice and primary care is that of a nurse practitioner; it is directly connected to providing care, and APNs are trained to ensure its highest quality. Furthermore, ANPs can play the role of a nurse administrator, which pertains to the field of administration and requires the application of managerial and leadership skills to ensure that a health care institution provides high-quality care. In the areas of education and research, the role of a nurse educator is appropriate for an APN; it involves the activities related to educating nurses to help them to improve their ability to provide high-quality care. Finally, a relatively new role is that of a nursing informaticist, which is likely to involve, among other things, the introduction of meaningful information technology use, the education of nurses on the matters of its use, and research in the field; all these activities are ultimately aimed at improving care.

From the description of nursing educators and informaticists, it is apparent that some of the roles may pertain to several fields of activity; this fact is also true for the remaining roles. For instance, nurse practitioners are welcome to engage in leadership, and nurse administrators might take part in the research. The mentioned roles seem to have rather strong connections to their pertinent field of practice, and they have different core activities. Still, the aim of the specified roles is similar, and it consists of providing high-quality care and advancing nursing practice.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation [RWJF] (2016) considers the topic of the policies related to childhood obesity and demonstrates that the communities of the US display notable improvements as a consequence of individually-developed strategies. In particular, RWJF (2016) states that it is typical for legislative efforts to focus on enforcing certain nutritional standards at schools. Unfortunately, the approach is problematic: it can cause avoidance and resistance (Hanks, Just, & Wansink, 2013). In fact, such restrictive strategies tend to coincide with a decrease in school lunch participation, although this issue might not be attributed to the restrictions exclusively (Woo Baidal & Taveras, 2014). According to Hanks et al. (2013), an appropriate alternative is to improve the school cafeteria to encourage healthy eating by making recommended foods more accessible, attractive, and normative with the help of packaging, posters, and staff behaviors. Thus, the proposed change consists of the adjustment of the environment of a school cafeteria by the administration, parents, and healthcare specialists with the aim of promoting healthy eating and reducing obesity rates in children.

This kind of change can be effectively managed at the local level. The key parties of interest include school administrations and parents; they can also become the key players along with local healthcare professionals. The process of change would require the collaboration of the actors in creating the change management committee, gathering the evidence on the effectiveness of environmental changes, planning the specific modifications appropriate for the school, implementing the change, testing it, and, if required, improving it. As a family nurse practitioner, I could contribute to the change and partake in leading it by consulting the committee on relevant health subjects and engaging the stakeholders, especially parents.

The study by Hanks et al. (2013) resulted in a 25% increase in vegetable consumption. Therefore, the proposed change would be expected to improve the eating habits of children. In the end, it would contribute to the reduction of obesity rates by introducing the educational elements of healthcare into a school’s environment, improving the quality of care provided to its children.


Baidal, J., & Taveras, E. (2014). Protecting progress against childhood obesity — the national school lunch program. New England Journal of Medicine, 371(20), 1862-1865. Web.

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Dreher, H. M., & Glasgow, M. E. S. (2016). DNP role development for doctoral advanced nursing practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Hanks, A., Just, D., & Wansink, B. (2013). Smarter lunchrooms can address new school lunchroom guidelines and childhood obesity. The Journal of Pediatrics, 162(4), 867-869. Web.

Purdue, G., & Roberts, B. (2014). The doctor of nursing practice and role assimilation: Strategies for success. Clinical Scholars Review, 7(2), 109-113. Web.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2016). Declining childhood obesity rates. Web.

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