Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Practice Nurse
There has been a continuous increase in demand for advanced health care, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses in the community and hospital setting. Specialized nursing care is supposed to provide access to quality health care at an affordable cost. Previously, some functions were reserved for physicians who are limited in number. Currently, primary care nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses have come out to fill the gap and offer affordable services. The purpose of this paper is to compare the roles, differences, and similarities for both primary care nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurse roles.
Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Currently, a nurse practitioner requires a minimum of a master’s of science degree in nursing with a future doctor of nursing practice to be registered. This is a state law put in place to govern the training, entry, and practice of nursing. The laws vary from state to state (Giwa et al, 2020). Primary care nurse practitioners are responsible for taking health history for patients. History helps determine the past medical and surgical issues encountered by the patient. Moreover, they also conduct physical examinations from head to toe and systemic reviews to determine current health issues affecting the patient. Another main role of the nurse practitioner is to conduct a comprehensive assessment, diagnose plan and treat acute and chronic illnesses. By doing this, they act as primary health care providers for patients in communities, clinics, and other mobile settings (Harris, 2017). They are also tasked to issue referrals for specialized care in specialized areas.
Some cases of patients require specialized care like a neurosurgical review, integumentary care, child specialized clinics, and geriatric care, and a nurse practitioner is responsible for making this referral. Primary nurse practitioners can give prescriptions to patients. Their practice of prescribing is controlled by state law. They are also restricted to the prescription of various medications to control misuse. They interpret laboratory results and radiological examinations (Saftner & Ruud, 2017). Additionally, they mostly perform their duties in community and ambulatory clinics, private facilities, and long-term care clinics. The practice is widespread with a variety of specializations to choose from. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse APRNs on the other hand, have gone and specialized in some areas of practice. For instance, child health, certified nurse-midwife, and certified nurse anesthetist. Similarly, they also hold a master of science in nursing. The typical duties for APRNs depend on their areas of specialization (Giwa et al, 2020). Unlike primary care practitioners, who carry out general care in the clinics, they perform specialized duties. APRNS also have prescriptive authority depending on their areas of practice. Although some are restricted, they can do this under the supervision of physicians. An advanced registered nurse practitioner can work in any health care setting that provides specialized care. For instance, the main area for nurse anesthetists is the surgical setting while a nurse-midwife is women’s health and pregnancy care (Harris, 2017).
APRNs are also required to assess, diagnose and treat patients in their area of practice. They take a comprehensive health history and conduct physical assessments to understand well the condition of the patient before any medical intervention is carried out. Similarities Both the nurse practitioners and the APRNs conduct appropriate patient education which is an important element of healthcare. It helps patients make informed decisions and choices on their health status. An advanced nurse practitioner is known to offer credible information on the health status of the population, enhance health-seeking behaviors, and promote disease prevention (Saftner & Ruud, 2017). The nurse develops and implements strategies that help an area access health services smoothly. This is done well when the nurse researches to determine the real needs concerning health in a community. Communication of the above roles to the health care provider and consumer requires good communication skills. The roles should be clearly stated and names displayed on their official name badges. Health care providers should familiarize themselves with the role of both nurse practitioners and APRNs to avoid work-related conflicts In conclusion, both nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses have a good clinical basis and theoretical background. They provide clinical nursing and practice directly to patients in their areas. This makes a variety of services available in the area such as assessment, consultation, diagnosis, and prescription to minor and uncomplicated illnesses. Their availability relieves the population from the burden of seeking specialized consultations and prescriptions, however, APRNs have specialized areas of practice in the clinical setting.
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