The healthcare system is constantly evolving, and advanced practice nurses (APNs) are at the forefront of this change. Registered nurses who have undertaken further education and training in order to offer patients specialized treatment are known as APNs.
They are highly skilled professionals who are equipped to address complex health issues and work in collaboration with physicians and other healthcare professionals to provide optimal patient care.
As per the statistics published by Zippia, the majority of advanced practice registered nurses hold a master’s degree, accounting for 49% of APNs. Following closely is the bachelor’s degree with 34% and the associate degree at 11%. In this article, we will explore the role of APNs in transforming healthcare.
What are Advanced Practice Nurses?
Registered nurses who have completed additional coursework and practical experience in a particular area of nursing practice are known as advanced practice nurses (APNs).
Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), and Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are the four primary subcategories of APNs.
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are APNs who provide comprehensive primary care services, including prescribing medications, diagnosing and treating illnesses, and ordering diagnostic tests.
Nurse practitioners operate in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private offices, and can specialize in family medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, and geriatrics.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
APNs who are certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) provide anesthetic treatment to patients in a number of settings, such as hospitals, surgical centers, and pain management clinics. CRNAs collaborate with clinicians and other medical personnel to guarantee the safety of patients during surgical operations.
Clinical Nurse Specialists
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) are APNs who specialize in one or more areas of nursing, such as cancer, critical care, or mental health. CNSs collaborate with medical professionals to create and implement patient treatment strategies.
APNs who are Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) provide prenatal, gynecological, and postpartum care to women. CNMs collaborate alongside physicians and other healthcare providers to guarantee the health and safety of both the mother and the baby during pregnancy and delivery.
Advanced Education for APNs
In today’s healthcare environment, advanced education for APNs is becoming increasingly vital. Pursuing higher education can not only improve APNs’ skills and knowledge, but it can also lead to professional promotion and improved income possibilities.
One of the most popular advanced education options for APNs is pursuing an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with a specialization in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP). This program is designed to prepare APNs to provide advanced care for patients with complex acute and chronic conditions.
The curriculum for an online DNP AGACNP degree typically includes advanced courses in pharmacology, pathophysiology, and patient assessment and management. Many institutes, such as Baylor University, also arrange for their students to participate in clinical experiences where they can apply their knowledge in a real-world setting.
The Role of APNs
APNs play a critical role in transforming healthcare by providing high-quality, affordable care to patients. Here are some of the ways in which APNs are transforming healthcare:
Improved Access to Care
APNs are helping to improve patient access to care, especially in areas that are underserved and rural. Patients who do not have access to doctors, in particular, can benefit from the help of nurse practitioners. This is especially relevant in locations where there is a physician shortage.
APNs provide patient-centered care, which means that they focus on the individual needs and preferences of each patient. According to the findings of a study published in BioMed Central, patient-centered care and co-creation of treatment are connected with improved results in primary care for patients with multimorbidity.
They work with patients to develop personalized treatment plans that take into account their medical history, lifestyle, and other factors that may impact their health. This approach to healthcare has the potential to improve patient results and satisfaction.
Collaboration with Other Healthcare Professionals
APNs collaborate with physicians and other healthcare providers to offer patients comprehensive care. This team-based approach to care can lead to better patient outcomes and improved communication among healthcare professionals.
Chronic Disease Management
Chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer need the use of APNs. They work with patients to develop personalized treatment plans that include lifestyle changes, medication management, and other interventions that can help patients manage their condition and improve their quality of life.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
APNs can help to reduce healthcare costs by providing high-quality, cost-effective care to patients. Studies have shown that NPs, in particular, can provide primary care services at a lower cost than physicians while maintaining similar or even better patient outcomes.
Patient Education and Empowerment
Patient education is an essential aspect of healthcare that involves educating patients about their medical conditions, treatment options, and preventive measures. Its purpose is to empower people to take an active role in their health care and make informed health decisions.
A blog post by MicroMD highlights the importance of patient education in improving patient satisfaction with their providers and overall care. When patients are well-informed about their medical conditions and treatment options, they are more likely to feel confident in their ability to manage their health. Patient satisfaction with their doctors also tends to increase as a result of this.
Advocacy and Health Policy
APNs also participate in advocacy and health policy efforts. They push for policies that increase access to treatment, encourage patient-centered care, and advance health fairness. APNs are also active in research projects that develop the nursing sector and improve patient outcomes.
In conclusion, APNs play a critical role in transforming healthcare by providing high-quality, patient-centered care that is cost-effective and accessible. APNs work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to develop personalized treatment plans and manage chronic diseases, improving patient outcomes and satisfaction.
Pursuing advanced education, such as an online DNP degree, can enhance the skills and knowledge of APNs and provide opportunities for career advancement. Through their advocacy and health policy initiatives, APNs are helping to improve access to care for underserved populations and promote policies that support the health and well-being of patients.