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Advanced Practice Roles in Nursing



Roles of Nurse Practitioners

The term “nurse practitioner” which is commonly referred to as the NP pertains to advanced practice registered nurses who have higher education and specialized training in a special area (“Scope of practice for registered nurses,” 2011). The role of nurse practitioners is fundamental because these educated, experienced, and trained individuals provide effective health promotion and maintenance services through the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. According to the information provided by the International Council of Nurses, NPs are experts with a solid knowledge base, strategic decision-making skills, and a variety of clinical competencies (“Scope of practice for registered nurses,” 2011).

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The main roles of nurse practitioners are directly linked to establishing the medical diagnosis, conducting detailed physical examinations, participating in physical and occupational therapies, prescribing medicines, ensuring effective family planning services, and providing efficient child-care services, especially screening and immunizations (“Scope of practice for registered nurses,” 2011).

In addition, the NPs actively participate in education, administration, and research because their practice is not limited to diagnosis and provision of treatment. Nurse practitioners are responsible for teaching nursing concepts and theories, administering resources directly related to healthcare services, and engaging in research closely associated with the health and practice of nursing (“Scope of practice for registered nurses,” 2011).

Roles of Nurse Educators

In turn, nursing educators are professionals whose responsibilities are linked to educating and mentoring new generations of healthcare professionals (Smith & Rose, 2011). In addition, nurse educators teach in different healthcare settings with the purpose to provide continuing high-quality education to licensed professionals in nursing (Smith & Rose, 2011). According to the data provided by the National League for Nursing, the main roles of nurse educators relate to education and research as these professionals should facilitate learning, promote learners’ development and socialization, and engage in curriculum design and development.

In addition, they usually function as role models and leaders, focus on continuous quality improvements, engage in scholarships, and, finally, increase their knowledge within the educational environment to be able to recognize and differentiate numerous external social and economic forces and pressures that influence their practice (National League for Nursing, n.d.). The practice of nurse educators pertains to evidence and research because these employees, similarly to nurse practitioners and nurse informaticists, should possess enough skills and knowledge to conduct research and effectively utilize findings to determine and provide solutions to a variety of educational and practice-based problems. Nurse educators also engage in scholarly writing, synthesize knowledge, and develop future generations of nursing professionals (National League for Nursing, n.d.).

Roles of Nurse Informaticists

Nurse informaticists, similarly to nurse educators, engage in research and administration (Smith & Rose, 2011). These professionals manage, communicate, share, and interpret medical data that flow in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices. Therefore, professionals in the sphere of nursing informatics have abundant experience and excellent skills in computer sciences, information technology, and nursing practice (Smith & Rose, 2011). Unlike nurse educators who teach other healthcare professionals, nursing informaticists are primarily purposed to enhance the quality and accuracy of personal patients’ information. Nursing informaticists possess a variety of essential skills to use IT to retrieve, organize, and manage data to contribute to patient practice (Smith & Rose, 2011).

Roles of Nurse Administrators

Nurse administrators, unlike many other professionals in the field of nursing, play a unique role in blending and connecting business skills with healthcare expertise (Smith & Rose, 2011). Although roles and responsibilities may differ depending on rules established in a certain healthcare facility, the most common roles of nurse administrators focus on overseeing the nursing staff, creating budgets, motivating and inspiring employees, serving as a leader and a problem-solver, supervising other members of the staff, undertaking different tasks that contribute to efficiency and cost-saving, and many others (Smith & Rose, 2011).

However, the roles of nurse administrators do not pertain to clinical practice because they do not provide direct care to patients (Smith & Rose, 2011). Thus, nurse administrators usually have administrative roles because they are most often involved in business and management aspects, especially supporting and managing the nursing personnel, planning and budgeting, developing quality control mechanisms, and shaping policies and public relations (Smith & Rose, 2011).

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Selected Advanced Practice Role

After having reviewed and assessed the main roles of the NPs, nurse educators, nurse informaticists, and nurse administrators, I have selected the role of a family nurse practitioner because these professionals possess abundant knowledge, professional skills, and rich practical experience and can ensure continuing and comprehensive healthcare services on individual and family levels across different ages, genders, illnesses, and body systems. In my opinion, the role of FNPs is predominant in modern society because they deliver a wide range of effective acute, chronic, and preventive healthcare services. Moreover, I would like to become a family nurse practitioner in the future because these people have an opportunity to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including traditional doctor’s offices, clinics, educational establishments, and private homes.

Since nurse practice roles and responsibilities are specific to each state, I will examine the main regulatory and legal requirements for the state of Georgia as I plan to work here as a family nurse practitioner in the future. To become a family nurse practitioner and have a chance to work in the state of Georgia, a person should get a graduate degree in this state, earn national certification, apply for authorization in Georgia, and regularly renew and update this authorization (Stephens, 2015). Moreover, Georgia’s regulatory and legal requirements are considered to be the most restrictive in the whole country when it comes to ensuring a chance for FNPs to practice to the full extent of their training.

In general, the state law governs the following components: the scope of practice, special requirements for licensure, standards of practice, additional requirements for collaboration or supervision, and many other aspects (Stephens, 2015). In addition, the Georgia Board of Nursing provides a list of the most important nursing programs that are approved in this state, including Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Level degrees and programs. The ACEN and the CCNE are two additional accreditation programs that are accepted in the territory of Georgia (Stephens, 2015).

FNPs practicing on the territory of Georgia should work under strict physician supervision and a “nurse protocol”. Moreover, FNPs in Georgia are given the right to prescribe medications and sign their prescriptions. The most famous and reputable professional organizations that are available for members of family nurse practitioners in Georgia are as follows: the UAPRN, South Georgia Association of Nurse Practitioners, Georgia Nurses Foundation, and many others (Stephens, 2015). For example, the role of the UAPRN is very important because this professional non-profit organization is primarily purposed to enhance access to healthcare for citizens of this state with special education and accreditation (Stephens, 2015).

This organization promotes a variety of legislative and practice issues to increase the number of skilled and educated family nurse practitioners in this state. The role of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is no less significant because the core mission of this reputable full-service professional organization is to advance quality health care through effective practice, professional education, advocacy, scientific research, as well as influential and responsible leadership (Stephens, 2015).

Family nurse practitioner graduates possess knowledge, skills, personal traits, and abilities that are critically important for independent clinical practice (“Family nurse practitioner: Student handbook,” 2015). The FNPs’ core competencies are acquired through effective mentored patient care experiences with a special emphasis on an independent, autonomous, and interprofessional practice; analytic skills for providing and assessing evidence-based and high-quality patient care across different settings; and advanced knowledge of a complex and flexible healthcare delivery system (“Family nurse practitioner: Student handbook,” 2015).

In general, the FNPs’ core competencies integrate and correspond to current DNP and Master’s core competencies and are effective and reliable guidance for educational programs, which prepare these professionals to implement and apply the full scope of practice as licensed and certificated experts (“Family nurse practitioner: Student handbook,” 2015).

Family nurse practitioners should possess a variety of competencies, especially scientific foundation competencies, leadership and quality competencies, practice inquiry and information literacy competencies, policy and ethics competencies, and independent practice and health delivery system competencies (“Family nurse practitioner: Student handbook,” 2015). Core competencies of family nurse practitioners incorporate health promotion and protection, treatment, and disease prevention. Teaching and coaching competencies are also essential for family nurse practitioners because FNPs should have the ability to interpret and individualize therapies through such activities as advocacy, tutoring, and modeling (“Family nurse practitioner: Student handbook,” 2015).

Therefore, the cultural competence of FNPs is fundamental because they play a dominant role in maximizing cultural competence of care, as well as recognizing and respecting the cultural and spiritual beliefs of every patient. According to the information provided by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, FNPs need to be licensed to have an opportunity to practice in one of the states (“Family nurse practitioner: Student handbook,” 2015).

FNP certification is offered to these employees by the ANCC. Even though this certification is voluntary in many cases, many employers request certification offered by the ANCC. These certifications usually foresee a renewal every five years that encompass additional continuing education, sufficient experience, and applicable fees (“Family nurse practitioner: Student handbook,” 2015).

As a person who pursues a promising and successful career as a family nurse practitioner, I am trained, skilled, and experienced in a variety of practice settings, including such options as primary care, teaching, management, and research. This flexibility and a variety of options provide me with a unique opportunity to engage in numerous fascinating and rewarding public health projects, while still having enough time for my own family and community. Although I was a family nurse practitioner who can work with people of different age groups, I will gain more enjoyment while caring for children.

Because of this reason, I believe that the correct career path for me is in pediatric nursing in one of the hospitals or clinics in Georgia. I have not chosen a specific organization yet because there are numerous jobs available in this state and I will have enough time to think it over and come to the final decision. I hope that I will have an opportunity to form harmonious and friendly workplace relationships with supportive, competent, knowledgeable, and skilled coworkers from diverse backgrounds.

Leadership Attributes of the Advanced Practice Role

Since nursing is a dynamic, challenging, and flexible profession requiring responsible leaders and excellent role models, the role of leadership in nursing is of utmost importance. Moreover, a healthy and collaborative working environment cannot exist without responsible and motivating leaders who guide and inspire other employees to contribute to the health and well-being of patients (Curtis, de Vries, & Sheerin, 2011). According to the results of the leadership style assessment test, I possess numerous essential qualities and characteristics typical for democratic leadership that is also commonly referred to as a participative leadership style (Cherry, 2016).

I am a person who relies on a democratic leadership philosophy when directing, guiding, inspiring, encouraging, and managing other people. Taking into account estimations of Kurt Lewin, a famous psychologist who explored the concept of leadership and various leadership styles, democratic leadership is recognized as the most effective and influential leader because individuals who are committed to this leadership philosophy foster cohesive collaboration and offer effective guidance to all team members (Curtis et al., 2011).

Results of the leadership legacy quiz indicate that I am a democratic leader because when it comes to decisions, I motivate all group members to express personal viewpoints and encourage the active participation of every employee in the processes of decision-making and negotiating (Cherry, 2016). Therefore, I have always been a proponent of the idea that tight collaboration and transparent communication among group members is the key to success. When it comes to giving orders and allocating responsibilities, I, as a democratic leader, provide wise directions, set realistic goals and missions, consider the ideas of every employee, and provide impartial and constructive feedback.

In addition, the leadership style assessment provides convincing evidence that I follow the democratic leadership style because I believe that an excellent method of motivation focuses not on rewards and punishments, but value and involvement of employees in the processes of decision-making (Cherry, 2016).

In my opinion, democratic or participative leadership style is the most beneficial and effective in the sphere of healthcare because by promoting group consensus and recognizing employees’ viewpoints and ideas democratic leaders contribute to maintaining and developing healthy working environments. After having analyzed the results of the leadership style assessment, I have revealed that currently I possess numerous characteristics and attributes typical for the democratic leadership style. To begin with, I am an honest, intelligent, and competent person who displays sincerity and truthfulness in actions and behaviors that rely on lifelong learning and tries to base personal behaviors and actions on ethical and moral principles.

In addition, I am an optimistic, inspiring, and imaginative democratic leader who displays confidence in the strength of every employee motivates followers to pursue organizational objectives and missions, and is committed to diversity. Generally speaking, intelligence, fairness, competence, and honesty are the most important traits and characteristics proving that my leadership style should be viewed as democratic (Whitebead, Weiss, & Tappen, 2007).

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After having identified and assessed several main leadership attributes I currently possess, I would like to emphasize that the democratic leadership style is vitally important in various healthcare settings because democratic leaders motivate employees to participate in decision-making processes, make them feel valued, foster open and direct communication, and enhance responsibility and accountability. However, the leadership assessment test reveals several missing attributes I should develop to maximize the effectiveness of my participative leadership style (Cherry, 2016).

Persuasive and supportive communication skills are the most significant attributes I should develop and enhance. I am aware of the fact that accurate and supportive communication plays a predominant role because it is the core of every leadership style. Open and transparent communication is a highly important skill that will enable leaders to connect with followers and motivate them to pursue organizational goals and objectives (Whitebead et al., 2007).

To attain this missing attribute, I will try to maintain open and sincere communication, express commitment, focus on discussion, listen to the opinions and viewpoints of other people, recognize and respect the ideas of other people, and create a clear vision. Thus, I am very glad that I rely on the democratic leadership style because I truly believe that this effective leadership philosophy will give me a chance to contribute to positive patient and employee outcomes, promote personal growth, and increase commitment and satisfaction of the workforce.

Health Policy and the Advanced Practice Role

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is recognized as one of the nation’s largest philanthropies directly dedicated to health. The RWJF is primarily purposed to maintain and develop a national culture of health by placing health and well-being at the center of every aspect of life (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016). After having reviewed and assessed the main focus areas of this leading philanthropy, I have decided to focus on a health policy issue associated with an increased need in the culture of health.

Maintaining and developing a culture of health is one of the most important current policies initiated by the RWJF because it will ensure that every person attains the best health possible (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016). According to the results of statistical data provided by the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a variety of social and economic factors, health behaviors, quality of clinical care, and physical environment influence the health of people (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016).

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Researchers who explore the culture of health claim that building a strong culture of health is significant because it encourages people to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle and be aware of many attributes that promote physical health and psychological well-being (Vaughn, Jacquez, & Baker, 2009). To create a solid culture of change, advanced practice nurses should promote recognition, knowledge, trust, control, power, and capability. Moreover, nurse practitioners, nurse educators, informaticists, and administrators should provide realistic choices to patients that can be practically implemented in their life to strengthen the culture of health.

Since hospitals are considered to be the main beacons of trust in every community and society, hospitals and professionals who work there are key players and, at the same time, interested parties should teach people that they can control their health and well-being and should be aware of different risks that may put their health at risk (Smith & Rose, 2011). To enable this and maintain the culture of health, hospitals should be responsible for creating robust and effective health and wellness programs and individual measures purposed to teach patients how they can engage in developing the culture of health.

In addition, while health and well-being should not be limited to a set of activities, hospitals and other organizations should offer numerous activities with the purpose to promote health within health organizations. Moreover, hospitals and clinics are encouraged to use incentives to increase the active participation of patients and employees.

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I am a proponent of the idea that creating and developing the culture of health is the main health policy issue that should be changed and improved. As a family nurse practitioner, I will also engage in influencing change in this policy. As a nurse practitioner who is responsible for providing continuous, high-quality, and comprehensive healthcare services to individuals and families, I will rely on my core competencies and advocate for improved access and quality of healthcare that is delivered to every patient.

Moreover, I will apply knowledge, experience, and skills to encourage patients to pay attention to their health and wellness, use all available sources to enhance the quality of services, and coach patients to undertake positive behavioral changes that may contribute to their health, and express the highest levels of accountability.

I am deeply convinced that the implementation of this change will have a tremendously positive impact on the health and well-being of every patient. A strong culture of health will motivate and inspire people to consider how economic, social, and political pressures and environments impact their physical and psychological wellness. Every person should be aware of various conditions in communities where they live, learn, and work because these aspects play a critical role inabilities of people to make healthy choices.

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