What Is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, and Could You Be One?

Working as a nurse gives you the opportunity to become a critical cog in the healthcare system. From delivering patient care and administering procedures to educating the public and training colleagues, there are a variety of roles that you’ll undertake throughout your time as a nurse.

Becoming a Registered Nurse is a major accomplishment, but your career doesn’t have to stop there. If you choose to, you’ll be able to undertake additional responsibilities and further your career by obtaining advanced qualifications. To get an idea of what your next steps could be, take a look at the role of an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and what it offers:

What Is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse?

An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a Registered Nurse who has chosen to complete advanced training and specialize in a particular field. APRNs hold a number of job roles, including Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM), Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA).

Due to their enhanced knowledge, skills and credentials, APRNs have more authority than Registered Nurses and hold more responsibility. As a Nurse Practitioner, for example, you may:

  • Assess patients’ clinical needs
  • Order and carry out diagnostic testing
  • Diagnose conditions and disease
  • Prescribe and administer treatments
  • Educate patients and their families

For Registered Nurses who want to further their careers and secure leadership roles, a reputable online ARNP program can be the most effective way to succeed. With the potential to gain a Master of Science in Nursing and specialize in your chosen field, you can fast-track your career progression when you enroll in the right program. What’s more – the option to study online means you’ll be able to continue working as an RN while you’re completing your ARNP course, if you choose to.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming an APRN?

Before you commit to further study and more responsibility, you’ll want to know exactly what a career as an APRN offers. To learn more, take a look at some of the benefits associated with being an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse now:

1. Opportunity to Specialize

As a Registered Nurse, you may work with a wide variety of patients from all demographics. Similarly, you may care for patients who are receiving treatment for a multitude of different illnesses, conditions or diagnoses. Although this means your work will remain varied, many healthcare workers have a particular interest in a specific field or sub-sector of patient care. Training as an APRN gives you the chance to pursue your professional interests and specialize in an area that appeals to you.

If you enjoy working with infants, for example, you may decide to qualify as Pediatric Nurse Practitioner or a Certified Nurse Midwife. Alternatively, if you thrive in the high-pressure environment of the ER or an operating theater, you may choose to specialize in Emergency Medicine as a Nurse Practitioner or become a Surgical Nurse Practitioner.

2. Enhanced Job Security

When it comes to job security, the outlook for healthcare workers is certainly positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Registered Nurses is expected to grow by 7% between 2019-2029, which is faster than the estimated average. For healthcare professionals in the APRN bracket, however, there will be an even higher demand for their skills. Between 2019-2029, the job outlook for Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Nurse Anesthetists and Nurse Practitioners is expected to grow by 45%.

With increased job opportunities and more demand for advanced practitioners, healthcare workers who choose to qualify as an APRN will enjoy greater job security too. Knowing that you can obtain licensure in any state in the U.S., also ensures that you’ll be able to continue your career progression if you decide to relocate in the future.

3. Leadership Opportunities

As you gain more skills and become more qualified, you’ll be well-placed to undertake leadership roles. Indeed, many of the duties that fall under APRN job descriptions incorporate a substantial amount of responsibility.

As a Nurse Practitioner, for example, you’ll be able to practice with a greater degree of authority. While some states do require NPs to work with restricted or reduced practice, the majority of states allow qualified NPs to work with full practice rights. This extends the scope of your role and gives you a greater degree of authority. As a Nurse Practitioner in a full practice state, you may even decide to set up your own clinic and launch your own healthcare initiative.

4. Higher Salaries

As you might expect, the further you go up the career ladder, the more you can expect to earn. While Registered Nurses earn a competitive salary, you can secure more generous remuneration packages when you qualify as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.

In fact, the 15 highest paying nursing jobs in the U.S. are all ARPN roles, such as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Family Nurse Practitioner and Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse. While healthcare workers are typically driven to join the professional because of their desire to help people, there’s no doubt that earning power is an important consideration when you’re choosing a career. When you decide to complete additional qualifications and take the next step to becoming an ARPN, you can look forward to increased earning power and higher salaries.

Is a Career in Healthcare Right for You?

The healthcare industry is filled with a wide range of career opportunities, which means it’s possible to find a role that suits you, no matter what your talents are. Whether you’re a compassionate caregiver or you can build advanced tech infrastructures for healthcare organizations, there are ways to develop your skills to meet the needs of the sector.

When it comes to nursing, the variety of specialties and sub-specialties ensures you can develop your skills and work in your preferred field. From acute care and pain management to nephrology, cardiology or psychiatry, a career as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse gives you the freedom to fulfil your ambitions and contribute to your community.