Advanced Practice Nursing

Recently starting my MSN Ed, I quickly realized there is a newer and larger definition of advanced practice nursing or advanced nursing practice. I’ll just call it APN. Historically, APN stood for advanced clinically trained nurses in direct patient care such as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse-midwives.

The current trending definition of APN includes all master’s and doctorate level educated nurses. According to the (AACN, 2004),

Any form of nursing intervention that influences health care outcomes for individuals or populations, including direct care of individual patients, management of care for individuals and populations, administration of nursing and health care organizations, and the development and implementation of health policy.

This modern definition of APN includes nurse educators, public health nurses, nurse administrators, and nursing research. I was surprised to learn APNs are no longer limited to direct clinical care. As far as mandating doctorate level education to the definition of APN, direct clinical care (DNP) and nursing research (PhD) seem to be the only two defined terminal pathways.

The exceptions to the current proposed mandate of doctorate level educated nurses by 2015 appear to be limited to clinical nurse leaders and nurse educators. These two professional arenas are generally accepted at the master’s level due to the combination of didactic training and practical experience (Barker, 2009).

References

AACN, (2004). AACN Postion Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing, October 2004. American College of Association of Nurses. Retrieved November 21, 2011 from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/position/DNPpositionstatement.pdf

Barker, A. (2009). Advanced Practice Nursing: Essential Knowledge for the Profession. Sudburry, Ma: Jones and Bartlett.

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