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What is an APN?

ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES: FAQs

 

 Click here for the ISAPN APN Brochure.  If you would like additional copies please contact us via email:  info@isapn.com

 

 

What is an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN)?

In Illinois, a licensed APN must have completed an accredited educational program with a master’s degree in nursing (MS or MSN) or doctorate degree in nursing (DNSc, DNP, or PhD) and be board certified. While all APNs are registered professional nurses (RN), only those with advanced education and clinical training are APNs.

Are there different types of APN and what is the difference?

Yes, depending on their education and clinical training. APNs include:

  • Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP): provides the full scope of primary care services in hospitals and clinics with an emphasis on prevention, wellness and patient education.  CNPs can diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses, including prescribing medication.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM): provides care for women throughout their lifespan through family planning, gynecologic services and menopausal management.  CNMs also care for women during and after pregnancy, deliver babies and provide newborn care.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): provides anesthesia and pain management care to patients undergoing all types of surgeries and medical procedures, including childbirth and patients with acute and chronic pain conditions.  CRNAs also provide expert airway management and critical care for emergency situations.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): have advance knowledge in a specialized field of practice and are experts at diagnosing and treating illnesses.  They also may prescribe medications.  CNSs influence positive outcomes and focus within three spheres of influence: patients/families, nursing, and systems/organizations.  They work in hospitals, clinics, offices or outpatient settings.

What health services do APNs provide?

Depending on their education and training:

  • Take medical histories and perform physical examinations
  • Diagnose & treat acute and chronic problems (i.e. ,infections, injuries*, asthma, diabetes, hypertension*)
  • Provide routine health care, wellness and disease prevention (prenatal, well-child, preventative adult*)
  • Order and interpret laboratory tests, X-rays & other diagnostic tests
  • Prescribe medications and treatments
  • Provide education and support for healthy lifestyle behaviors
  • Manage normal pregnancy, labor and birth as well as many other aspects of women’s health throughand including menopause (C.N.M.)
  • Manage anesthesia care and pain management (C.R.N.A.)
  • Enhance quality and safety throughout the continuum of healthcare by improving patient, nursing, and organizational outcomes
  • Reduce healthcare costs, hospital length of stay, and hospital readmissions
  • Serve as Educators, Leaders, Researchers, Administrators, Change-agents
  • Provide expert consultation throughout continuum of healthcare
  • Provide palliative or end-of-life care

(* indicates a limited list of examples)

Where do APNs practice?

Clinics, physician offices, hospitals, long term care facilities, home health agencies, communities, schools and other health settings.



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