Advanced Practice Registered Nursing
As the American healthcare system actively works to accommodate the fastest growing demand it has ever faced, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are recognized as vital to meeting the medical needs of the American public. The US Department of Labor projects that registered nursing will experience 26% job growth during the current decade ending 2020, driven largely by the fact that APRNs are more often relieving the demand placed on physicians by serving as primary care providers.
Certified nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists take on primary roles identified by patient population, and often sub-specialize by setting, disease, or type of care. The advanced education, training, and demonstrated experience-based competency required to become an APRN puts these medical professionals in a unique position to make affordable, advanced-level, highly-specialized medical care more accessible.
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There are currently more than a quarter million APRNs practicing in the US, and many thousands more entering practice each year. This contingent of highly skilled nurses represents a powerful force for change in the way healthcare is delivered. A recent study conducted by the American Medical Association revealed that 70% of patients believed they would be unable to see their primary care provider the same day as needed. The study went on to reveal that as many as 40% of emergency department admissions were for issues classified as non-urgent. Inaccessibility to primary care directly correlates to the occurrence of unnecessary emergency department visits, placing an unwarranted burden on emergency medical staff and representing an unnecessary expense to insurance providers and patients alike. As a greater number of APRNs serve in primary care roles, they increase accessibility to affordable healthcare and directly contribute to eliminating gross inefficiencies in the way medical care is routinely provided.
Advanced degreed nurses who serve in roles outside of the clinical environment are also vital to the efficiency and efficacy of healthcare delivery and specialized services throughout the healthcare continuum, and beyond. From research laboratories, to the halls of higher education, from the boardroom to the courtroom, the experience and education of APRNs and other highly educated nurses in non-clinical roles, allow these professionals to affect positive change while being well compensated for their expertise.
They serve in leadership roles throughout all levels of nursing management and healthcare facility administration. They work in highly skilled, technically focused roles as informaticists, researchers, and legal consultants. And, of course, they are the professors whose tireless efforts ensure that students who transition from the classroom to the practice environment are well prepared for the challenges that await them.
Whether in the clinical environment or outside of it, experienced nurses with advanced education work to improve patient outcomes and are fundamental to the betterment of the healthcare system.