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Advanced Nurses

There are a variety of levels of nursing including the entry level Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN), the more advanced Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and the Registered Nurse (RN). The most advanced levels of nursing however build upon the work of the Registered Nurse and through additional studies help one to join one of the advanced nursing professions that fall under the umbrella of the Advanced Practical Registered Nurse (APRN) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) titles. We are going to take a closer look at the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), the Certified Nurse Specialist for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (PMHNs) and the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM).

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is a specialization of the Registered Nurse that works in the discipline of Anesthesiology. By understanding the complexities of interactions between medications, dosages and a variety of other factors the CRNA provides a critical service to surgical teams and other situations that require anesthesia. This is accomplished through additional schooling in a nurse anesthetist graduate program which will take between 2 and three years. At its completion the CRNA must pass a national CRNA exam. You must have at least one years of nursing experience as an RN before you are able to enter into a nurse anesthetist graduate program. CRNA’s are among some of the most in-demand and highest paid of all nurses.

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (PMHNs) is a sub-discipline within the field of Registered Nurses who specialize in working with those who suffer from psychiatric problems. The PMHN is able to work with communities, groups and families in addition to individualized care. They are able to diagnose, create care plans and assist in the psychiatric care of patients. They are also able to prescribe medication and administer psychotherapy. In order to become a PMHN, one must first become a Registered Nurse. You then have to return to school and earn a Master’s or Doctoral degree in Psychiatry to make full use of the possible skills of a PMHN. The PMHN is extremely well paid and can open their own private practice or work for an organization of their choosing as this is a highly in demand occupation.

The Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a sub-set of the Registered Nurse (RN) who has received additional training to become a Midwife in addition to an RN. This training can occur at a variety of midwifery programs. There is an increasing trend among a sub-section of the population towards Midwife assisted births as well as home births. The virtue of the Certified Nurse Midwife is their ability to use Midwifery techniques and when necessary call upon their medical training to stabilize a mother or infant. A Certified Nurse Midwife can also perform their services in a hospital setting which is useful for those who want to have their birth at a hospital as an additional safety-net incase the delivery goes wrong or for insurance reasons. The CNM acts as a bridge between modern medical safety and those who wish to have a more traditional birth experience.

There are a wide variety of sub-specializations the Advanced Nurse can take including many options not covered here. Once you have settled upon the specialization or niche you feel drawn to work in, it is simply a matter of gaining the necessary experience and education to take your career in nursing the exact direction you want. The impact of Advanced Practice Nurses on safety is quite large and is a very beneficial part of the healthcare system.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a Registered Nurse who has gone on to attain higher levels of education so they can perform more complicated tasks. For example the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) can work in a research or academic capacity. The APRN can also make diagnoses and prescribe medication which is one of the big differences between the APRN and lower tiers of nursing. The APRN can also perform holistic physical examinations, obtain health histories and practicing evidence based decision making. The APRN is at the pinnacle of nursing and requires a minimum of a Master’s degree in Nursing along with post-graduate work and often a full Doctoral degree to attain this title.

With their advanced education and training the APRN can approach nursing with a new emphasis on their advanced skills as well as the ability to make decisions on therapies and medication not available to other levels of nursing. The APRN is able to use a holistic evidence based approach to decision making in regards to diagnoses, treatment plans and medication prescriptions. Through an evidence based approach the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) will work to follow best practices to achieve the best health outcomes for their patients through an integration of theory and practice which has deepened through the doctoral educational process. The APRN will also be able to utilize their staff and physical resources to achieve the best possible results for their patients and organization through a strict adherence to appropriate ethics and in accordance to the law.

You can also further specialize your skills by becoming a Nurse Anesthetist and help in the administration of anesthesiology. You could also refine your training to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist which can take a variety of forms such as pediatric oncology. If you enjoy working in maternity related matters you could become a Nurse Midwife which is an increasingly in demand specialty among those who are interested in having a natural or home birth. You could also become a Nurse Practitioner and open your own private practice.

To become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) you will usually be required to have a minimum of a Master’s degree in Nursing with post-graduate experience in either generalized nursing practice or in your specialty. In most cases to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) you will need to have a doctoral degree in Nursing.

If you want to take your skills in nursing to the apex of the profession you will want to return to school to get the necessary education and training to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and determine what kind of specialization resonates with you. There is a wealth of information on opportunities in nursing education through the Health Resources and Services Administration that is worth investigating.