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Job Description of an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an advanced practice nurse. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job responsibilities, and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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An advanced practice registered nurse has a master's degree in nursing, their registered nursing license, and an advanced practice nursing license. Their training equips them with advanced skills in their area of specialization.

Essential Information

Advanced practice nurses have graduate-level education and have advanced clinical skills in a specialty area. These professionals may work in clinical care, midwifery, anesthesia or as a nursing practitioner. In order to obtain such a position a master's degree must be earned, along with both RN licensure and specialized advanced practice nursing licensure.

Required Education Master's-level nursing degree
Additional Requirement RN licensure and advanced practice nursing licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 35% for nurse practitioners
Mean Salary (2015)* $101,260 annually for nurse practitioners

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Job Description

Aspiring advanced practice nurses are existing registered nurses who wish to work in a specialized field, in direct contact with physicians. The primary types of advanced practice nurses are nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists. In order to obtain such a position, one must acquire a master's-level nursing degree. The master's degree programs prepare students to enter into leadership positions and participate in developing policies, as well as influencing patient-care procedures. Advanced practice nurses are also authorized to prescribe medication. The following provides a detailed description of the four types of advanced practice nurses.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

This type of nurse works directly with patients who have specific needs. Clinical care nurses specialize and are experts in nursing fields, such as mental health, pediatric, geriatrics and forensics. For example, a forensic clinical nurse specialist can provide primary care to severe trauma victims and collaborate with healthcare and criminal justice organizations to influence policies associated with victim treatment.

Nurse Midwives

Advanced practice nurses with this specialization focus on caring for newborns and their mothers. Nurse midwives are knowledgeable in a variety of types of care, such as gynecology, postpartum care, neonatal care, family planning and primary care of a newborn child. In addition, they also are present and assist in the labor process.

Nurse Anesthetists

Nurse anesthetists are in charge of providing sedative and pain management treatments to patients who are about to have surgery, are in the diagnosis stage or when they are being examined. In addition to being authorized to prescribe and administer appropriate medication and dosages in a controlled setting, nurse anesthetists assist in emergency situations with airway management and immediate pain relief.

Nurse Practitioner

This is the most general career of the advanced practice nurse specialties. Nurse practitioners work with families and individuals to lend their expertise in areas like women's care, mental health, adult acute care, geriatrics and pediatrics. They focus on general health and well-being, in addition to patient education and prevention.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Salary and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for nurse practitioners are expected to increase by 35% from 2014-2024. In 2015, nurse practitioners earned a mean wage of $101,260, nurse midwives averaged $93,610 and nurse anesthetists averaged $160,250.

Advanced practice registered nurses pursue advanced training in an area of specialization. Some choose to be midwives, while others pursue advancement as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. They're authorized to prescribe medication and help develop patient care procedures.

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