The role of nurses in the American healthcare system has changed dramatically since the first part of the 20th century. Nurse practitioners provide a wide range of healthcare services and perform a key role in the process of communication with patients. Registered nurses (RN) have a set of responsibilities confined to completing clinical procedures, communicating with patients, monitoring their health, among others. However, many RNs choose to go beyond this range of duties and transit to another role. Nurse practitioners (NP) are degree holders who have a wider scope of practice. The acknowledgment of the complexity of the health issues and the shortage of healthcare professionals contribute to the increasing need for APNs (Dunphy, 2017). This paper dwells upon the transition from RN to NP and its peculiarities, the four roles of ANP, and includes personal accounts regarding the reasons for transition.
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Four APN Roles
Advanced practice nurses (APNs) contribute considerably to the provision of high-quality care and an increase in access to healthcare services. The qualifications, level of education, responsibilities, and duties of APNs may vary depending on state regulations, but, in general, APNs have a degree (master’s or doctorate) (Becker & Doherty, 2017). APNs tend to perform one of the four roles: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP), and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). CNPs can perform the role of Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP).
APNs provide care in specific settings and perform a wide range of clinical tasks. In addition to these duties, APNs also take up leadership roles and collaborate effectively in cross-functional teams (McDonnell et al., 2014). Another important contribution of these healthcare practitioners is their active involvement in research and staff training. APNs facilitate the development of a favorable working environment, which is critical in the healthcare setting.
The rationale for Choosing CNP Role
The choice of the profession and specialization often depends on individuals’ personal reasons. I have chosen to become a CNP due to my commitment to helping vulnerable populations. Helping families to cope with serious health issues is one of my primary goals to be achieved in the role of a certified nurse practitioner. My family has gone through several complicated periods, which made me see that I can help many people manage such difficult times. I believe CNPs have a wider scope of practice compared to such practitioners as CRNA. CNPs also have a large impact as they are able to teach patients how to manage their health in the post-discharge period and maintain proper health throughout their lives.
Plans for Clinical Practice
After graduation, I intend to continue learning and self-developing in many ways. I will use the knowledge and skills I acquired during the program in the clinical setting. It is also essential to collaborate with other nurse practitioners and healthcare professionals to be able to work effectively in a team. Teamwork is one of the fundamentals in nursing practice, so communication, collaboration, and sharing experience are pivotal. The exploration of the four ANP roles has not changed my understanding of NP practice. However, it gave me helpful insights into the roles nurses can perform within certain contexts. A clear understanding of responsibilities and roles is essential for the successful performance of the clinical tasks.
The transition from the RN to NP role can be a difficult process that often results in nurses’ low morale and high turnover (Barnes, 2015). Several factors affect the transition from the RN to NP roles, including but not confined to personal characteristics, social support, interpersonal relationships, educational background, role ambiguity, self-confidence, professional autonomy, workload, and so on (Faraz, 2017). Some of the most influential factors can be professional autonomy and workload.
In order to address these challenges, it is important to be a lifelong learner who gains knowledge from different sources (workshops, conferences, research, on-the-job training, and experience sharing). Autonomous decision making will be less time-consuming and challenging if new skills and knowledge are gained, and other people’s opinion is available. A novice nurse has to be ready to make decisions based on knowledge, experience, and sharing experiences. In order to diminish the negative effects of workload during the transition period, it is important to focus on time management and leadership skills. Effective delegation and proper time management can be instrumental in completing tasks within short time limits. The focus on the development of communication skills will ensure the attainment of these goals.
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On balance, it is necessary to note that the transition from the RN to NP roles is a difficult period for novice nurses that is often associated with a high turnover rate. At that continuous self-development can make this period less demanding and more fruitful. The development of communicative and leadership skills can help in taking up new roles. It is also noteworthy that ANPs now play one of the central roles in the healthcare system due to the wide scope of practice. Nurses remain the primary communicators with families, which makes their input essential.
Barnes, H. (2015). Exploring the factors that influence nurse practitioner role transition. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 11(2), 178-183. Web.
Becker, D., & Doherty, C. (2017). Emerging roles of the advanced practice nurse. In L. A. Joel (Ed.), Advanced practice nursing: Essentials for role development (pp. 16-32). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.
Dunphy, L. M. (2017). Advanced practice nursing: Doing what has to be done. In L. A. Joel (Ed.), Advanced practice nursing: Essentials for role development (pp. 2-15). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.
Faraz, A. (2017). Novice nurse practitioner workforce transition and turnover intention in primary care. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(1), 26-34. Web.
McDonnell, A., Goodwin, E., Kennedy, F., Hawley, K., Gerrish, K., & Smith, C. (2014). An evaluation of the implementation of Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) roles in an acute hospital setting. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(4), 789-799. Web.