In the last 20 years, the modernization of the healthcare system has resulted in modifications to the outdated way of thinking about the nursing profession. As a result of these reforms, providers are obligated to provide services by suitably trained employees and to satisfy the demands of patients through a negotiated process. An experienced, high-caliber team capable of delivering high-quality, consistent treatment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is required for good health outcomes for our patients. In addition, with an aging population and a significant proportion of patients living with chronic health issues, a workforce with advanced capabilities is required to satisfy the capacity, demand, and complicated and continuously changing patient needs.
A nurse’s job in the United States is evolving in response to our population’s growing healthcare requirements and the issues this offers. The definition of advanced practice has changed and will continue to alter over time. This is because it is based on what is regarded to be a nurse’s regular scope of practice at the time of registration. There are numerous definitions and models of advanced practice. The Department of Health and the Nursing Midwifery Council have issued declarations about the fundamental knowledge and competencies required for advanced practice. The advanced nurse practitioner is one type of this professional.
The position evolved from common competencies shared by all registered nurses. Advanced-level nurses function as generalists in primary care. They can care for people of any age with acute or chronic medical issues. This is determined by the skills they have acquired. Health promotion might also be included. Nurses in first-contact roles who manage patients with undiagnosed illnesses must be able to conduct an appropriately focused examination. Nurses in these positions should always work within the extent of their expertise and practice. This involves knowing when and how to refer for additional evaluation. This could be in their clinical environment or somewhere else, like secondary care.
Advanced Nurse Practitioners are Registered Nurses with additional training and academic qualifications, such as an MSN NP program, to evaluate, assess, diagnose, treat, prescribe, and refer patients with undiagnosed/undifferentiated disorders. But what are the responsibilities of an advanced nurse practitioner?
Responsibilities of an advanced nurse practitioner
Advanced nurse practitioners have a broad scope of practice, having completed advanced clinical training to manage and assess patients more expertly (akin to a general practitioner) and having more generalist abilities (depending on the background). They will frequently have a particular interest, and their tasks will include the following.
1. Patient assessments
This entails gathering and analyzing information from the patient to discover the patient’s needs. The process of planning care employs many ways to address the requirements found during an assessment. This should ideally include selecting relevant evidence-based nursing interventions.
2. Diagnose patients
Advanced nurse practitioners can assess and examine you, diagnose you, and provide advice and treatment, including a prescription if necessary. In addition, they can order required tests, refer patients to hospital doctors or other health care specialists, and admit patients to the hospital as needed.
3. Treating illnesses
Advanced nurses must have a great eye for detail when assessing a patient’s treatment and response. If an issue is detected, ANPs are likely the first to recognize it; hence, they need to be able to rapidly communicate an issue to a doctor, especially in emergencies. Throughout the treatment process, an APN must monitor the patient’s progress and work in the patient’s best interests. An advanced nurse practitioner’s role goes beyond providing drugs and other interventions. APNs often oversee patients’ holistic care, which includes the individual’s cultural, emotional, and spiritual requirements.
4. Prescribe medication
Advanced Nurse Practitioners make judgments based on examination, diagnosis, and interpretation of test results. Therefore, ANPs can independently prescribe appropriate medication, evaluate patients, and refer them to other experts.
5. Evaluate service delivery
The evaluation of patient planning and service delivery is a critical component of advanced nursing practice. Nurses, who are well-positioned to evaluate service and practice delivery, are increasingly using and leading service evaluation.
With this added responsibility, it is easy to see why many refer to an advanced nurse practitioner as similar to a GP. However, as well as qualifications, it takes a lot of skill and knowledge to complete these responsibilities, which we will look at next.
Skills required to be an advanced nurse practitioner
Advanced practice health and care professionals will be able to demonstrate the underlying competencies, skills, and behaviors relevant to the specialty or health and care environment and job role they are working in. In addition, advanced practitioners must demonstrate additional core competencies across four pillars as part of the multi-professional framework for advanced clinical practice: clinical practice, leadership and management, education, and research. Here are a few of the specific skills, knowledge, and competencies advanced nurse practitioners need to be able to display.
Good leadership is essential to influence and motivate others to work successfully and cooperatively with health and social care practitioners and senior and junior personnel and accomplish the service’s and the larger organization’s goals and objectives. Understanding leadership styles is critical for guiding personnel from different disciplines and designing new services. Leadership also includes communication skills, patient group support, and serving as a role model for less experienced employees.
Nurses in leadership positions are frequently in charge of scheduling and assigning personnel and resources. To correctly assign responsibilities and tasks, you must first recognize and leverage the skills of nurses. For example, allocating a nurse with cardiac experience to a patient recently admitted for chest pain. But this does not imply that you should confine your nurses to a single field. On the contrary, one of your primary responsibilities as a leader will be to help individuals you supervise grow their talents. As a result, you must also learn to identify prospective skills and delegate to help nurses attain their full potential.
Any advanced nurse practitioner abilities list would be incomplete if the capacity to improve nursing practice were not mentioned. Because the nursing sector is constantly changing, advanced nurse practitioners are responsible for keeping up with these changes. At the same time, they must be able to incorporate new initiatives in an economically viable manner that does not jeopardize the goal of enhancing patient outcomes.
As an advanced nurse practitioner, you will teach nurses-in-training the finest patient care techniques and important healthcare concepts such as diagnostics, sickness management, and medication administration. There are numerous approaches to teaching nursing students in the classroom or the clinical field. Revisiting tried-and-true teaching tactics will help you enhance student engagement, retention, and skill-building as an advanced nurse.
It is one thing to provide a medical diagnosis or order a lab test—but a successful advanced NP makes a patient feel understood while delivering care and is empathetic to their needs and those of their family members. It is critical to give outlets for patients to traverse language hurdles and convey complex medical information in a way they comprehend. You will need to translate some complicated medical words into plain language. Some believe that communicating only entails talking, but it also involves being a good listener. Your patients will have more faith in you if they can speak with you.
There are 24 hours a day. That is all you have to commute, eat, enjoy life, relax, sleep, work, use the restroom, and do other things. Managing your time means organizing and prioritizing daily activities to make the most of a day. Being an advanced NP entails making the most of every second of the workday. For example, when a patient is getting changed, utilize the restroom to complete your clinical notes between seeing patients. Depending on your clinical setting, you may only have 15 minutes to visit a patient and must move on to the next patient as soon as you exit the exam room.
Working in any field of the medical industry can be fast-paced, especially in the last year. With the increasing need for patient care and scientific research, it is common for healthcare workers to feel that there are insufficient hours in the day. Nurses frequently face the most substantial strain due to the ever-increasing need for medical care. They are responsible for giving their patients the best possible care and staying on top of all relevant documentation while supporting other team members. Therefore, each working day must be meticulously scheduled.
As you can see, aside from a master’s degree, unique soft and hard abilities are core attributes of an advanced nurse practitioner. Digital intelligence, decision-making, attention to detail, and empathy are also essential talents for an ANP. These abilities enable you to employ modern technologies in healthcare, conduct health checks, and make correct diagnoses.