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The Roles in Advanced Nursing Practice

Advanced nursing practice has significantly improved nurses’ roles leading to better health outcomes among patients and the attainment of different healthcare goals. This assignment’s purpose will focus on the roles in advanced nursing practice to know what it entails. Understanding how advanced nursing practice relates to other nursing spheres is crucial. Transitioning from registered nurse (RN) to advanced practice nurse (APN) is not as simple as many would assume. It requires considerable dedication and high expertise in the field. The nurse needs to carefully analyze their roles and how they can be applied in patient care and treatment (Barnes, 2015). It is an important career shift that improves nurses’ skills and participation in attaining healthcare objectives. Selecting the certified nurse practitioner (CNP) role is another critical milestone in the nursing world as it advances the nurse’s education and enables them to specialize in areas like family practice or pediatrics. CNP roles are also essential in managing adverse health conditions among patients as they are well educated on the most effective and vital approaches to deal with different patients. My plans for clinical practice and role transition focus on attaining better healthcare alternatives among patients and also providing better awareness to patients regarding how they can improve their health states.

Four APN roles

The advanced practice nurse has extensive roles that contribute toward attaining healthcare objectives. They are dedicated and ready to serve patients with different medical conditions. Before analyzing the four roles carried out by APNs, it is essential to have a better comprehension of who APNs are. They are advanced nurses that have attained better educational qualifications in the field. It means that APNs have acquired graduate-level degrees like a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN). They can also have other advanced educational qualifications in the field like Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) (“Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN),” 2022).

There are four fundamental roles that an APN can hold. The roles include certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse practitioner (CNP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and certified nurse midwife (CNM) (“Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN),” 2022). We closely analyze the different roles of the APN to gain a better understanding of the contribution to the healthcare sector.

Certified nurse practitioner (CNP)

CNPs provide patients with comprehensive care. This is one of the main roles of the APN and mainly includes providing treatment and diagnostic care. CNPs also ensure a focus on preventive health maintenance. Patients are given the necessary knowledge and awareness on how they can improve their health by providing adequate preventive measures for certain health conditions. It is critical to understand that nurse practitioners are nurses meaning holistic care and patient education is their main priority (“Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)”, 2022). Nurse practitioners do not only diagnose and treat patients; they are well skilled and can perform complex procedures whenever the need arises. CNP role in APNs is different from the roles performed by different physicians. The patient care approach of CNPs is more holistic. It involves forming a close rapport with the patients to ensure the best treatment alternatives. They do this by understanding the patient’s environmental and psychosocial information. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners states that CNPs are vital as they can help lower the cost of healthcare among patients that use NPs as their leading care providers.

Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

This is another critical role under the APNs; the CNS is a highly skilled registered nurse certified in areas they have specialized in. Clinical nurse specialists undertake their roles differently from other categories of nurses. Their skill and knowledge in the field allow them to prescribe medications when they apply for the authority to do so (Walker & Polancich, 2015). CNSs mainly focus on consulting, research, and education in healthcare to improve patients’ experiences.

In the nursing field, CNSs are leaders; they serve as advocates, mentors, and educators and demonstrate high levels of expertise while maintaining strong clinical skills. Nurse leaders can help facilitate and promote change to meet the patient’s needs and preferences. They are reliable nurses who use evidence-based practice approaches to deliver care to different patients. They use an evidence-based approach to provide knowledge to other nurses and help in developing affordable strategies in care delivery to patients (Walker & Polancich, 2015). Another critical aspect to consider is that CNSs can bring their experiences and observations to patient care and can apply it to enhance practices.

Certified nurse midwife (CNM)

The certified nurse midwife (CNM) is an advanced healthcare provider specializing in women’s reproductive health and childbirth. They have different roles, like monitoring women during their pregnancy phase, monitoring childbirth, and post-partum (“Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN),” 2022). They are also responsible for providing adequate knowledge for health maintenance, especially in women’s reproductive health. Their health maintenance is mainly promoted via preventive education to ensure that women of reproductive health adopt the best practices during their pregnancy phase.

Certified nurse midwives are essential and play a fundamental role in advanced nursing practice. First, they ensure they apply practical and effective reproductive health knowledge to expectant women. This is usually the first step in promoting a safe and healthy delivery. It is also worth noting that CNMs approach patient care with a holistic view meaning they are more concerned about their patient’s mental health (“Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)”, 2022). The holistic approach goes beyond the physical aspects of a health condition. It ensures nurses view patients using a different perspective, like forming a close rapport with them.

CNM have extensive benefits in the birth process. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the advantages of CNM-assisted births include:

  • Higher breastfeeding rates.
  • Lower cesarian birth rates.
  • Less use of regional anaesthesia.
  • Lower rates of labour induction.

Another important aspect is that women cared for by CNMs were more likely to attain a more hands-on approach and effective interaction with the provider, better prenatal education, and fewer invasive interventions that could impact the mother’s health (Heale & Rieck Buckley, 2015). Studies have also shown that using a midwife in delivery was more advantageous among women of reproductive health. It opened the possibility of home births. This is a vital option for most mothers as it lessens the anxiety associated with childbirth and reduces the possibility of feeling rushed, which could result in cesarean delivery.

Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

A certified registered nurse anesthetist is a highly skilled healthcare provider in administering anesthesia. The anesthetist works in different settings like obstetric care, operating rooms, dental offices, public health centers, plastic surgery centers, and outpatient surgery centers. When a nursing specialist administers anesthesia, it is considered a nursing practice, but when administered by an anesthesiologist, it is regarded as practicing medicine. CRNAs are essential people in the medical world. They do not only work in busy metropolitan hospitals; they are flexible enough to work as primary anesthesia providers in underserved and rural regions (Heale & Rieck Buckley, 2015).

They do not require physician supervision; therefore, they can help lower healthcare costs depending on the state of their practice. Sometimes, they are the only anesthesia providers available. They start as registered nurses and then specialize in anesthesia to improve healthcare among different patients.

Rationale for choosing CNP role

The CNP role is critical in patient care; it ensures patients receive the best possible treatment while understanding other aspects like their mental and psychosocial environments. CNPs also ensure a focus on preventive health maintenance. Patients are given the necessary knowledge and awareness on how they can improve their health by providing adequate preventive measures for certain health conditions. It is critical to understand that nurse practitioners are nurses meaning holistic care and patient education is their priority.

Plans for clinical practice

The main plans for clinical practice are promoting better awareness and education to patients regarding how they can improve their health. Patient education serves as an important preventive aspect that can help improve health outcomes. It is also vital to further education in nursing to have extensive knowledge in the field.

Role transition

Transitioning from a registered nurse (RN) to a nursing practitioner (NP) is no simple feat. One of the factors that can impact this transition is the need to gain better skills. The nurse practitioner has advanced education, meaning they have added skills and knowledge in nursing. The other factor is the need to develop my career; nurse practitioners have better career opportunities because of the advancement in education and skills (Barnes, 2015). This can open up better opportunities to improve nursing practice and ultimately improve healthcare provision among different patients.

The first strategy to successfully transition from RN to NP is advancing education. It is essential to further education in nursing to gain the necessary skills. The other strategy is changing professional identity. The RN and NP roles are quite different, meaning nurses should be ready for the transition by advancing their knowledge and education (Barnes, 2015).


Advanced nursing practice (ANP) is necessary as it promotes the development of new skills and roles to impact care delivery positively. Registered nurses gain better skills in dealing with different patients as they transition to advanced nursing practice. Some of the leading roles in advanced nursing practice include; certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse practitioner (CNP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and certified nurse midwife (CNM) (Mayo et al., 2017). These are fundamental roles that have significantly improved care delivery in the healthcare sector over the years.


Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). (2022). Retrieved 1 September 2022, from,and%20nurse%20practitioner%20(NP).

Barnes, H. (2015). Exploring the factors that influence nurse practitioner role transition. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners11(2), 178-183.

Heale, R., & Rieck Buckley, C. (2015). An international perspective of advanced practice nursing regulation. International nursing review62(3), 421-429.

Mayo, A. M., Ray, M. M., Chamblee, T. B., Urden, L. D., & Moody, R. (2017). The advanced practice clinical nurse specialist. Nursing administration quarterly41(1), 70-76.

Walker, D. K., & Polancich, S. (2015, November). Doctor of nursing practice: The role of the advanced practice nurse. In Seminars in Oncology Nursing (Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 263-272). WB Saunders.


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