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Who is an Advanced Practice Nurse?

An Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) is a Registered Nurse (RN) who has acquired the expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for extended practice. The APN should have at least three years experience in their chosen clinical speciality and completed advanced education (at the masters’ degree level). They are trained in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions, including chronic illnesses.

APNs provide a broad range of healthcare services. They work collaboratively with doctors and other healthcare professionals to provide complex nursing care to patients. APNs use advanced assessment and clinical skills to anticipate and manage complex situations, administering therapies for managing of actual and potential health issues.

APNs also participate in:  
a) the development of evidence-based practice, integrating theoretical and practice-based knowledge to influence the development of nursing, health practice and policy at local and national levels.
b) professional activities to promote the advancement of nursing and health care.  
Scope of Practice
The scope of practice of APN entails the cognitive, integrative and technical abilities of the qualified nurse to put into practice ethical and safe acts, procedures, protocols and practice guidelines. The clinical practice of the APN is scientifically based and applicable to health care practice in primary, secondary and tertiary settings. The role also encompasses the dimensions of patient and peer education, mentorship, clinical leadership, and includes the responsibility to translate, utilize and undertake meaningful research to advance and improve nursing practice.
(Adapted from the International Council of Nurses definition of scope of practice of APN)
Specialised Branch of Nursing
APNs are currently certified in these four specialities: acute, medical/ surgical care, community and mental health.
a) Acute care APNs practise in the intensive care units and emergency departments;
b) Medical/ surgical APNs can function in general and specialised clinical settings such as oncology, gerontology, cardiology and neurology;
c) Community APNs care for patients with common acute conditions & chronic conditions at the polyclinics and the community;
d) Mental health APNs can function in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings.
Last Updated :  24 Jun 2014 09:42