Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Career Guide
What Is an APRN?
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Degrees
Types of Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) Specialties
What to Expect as an APRN
Role and Scope of Practice
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Role
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Scope of Practice
The designation of BC stands for “board certified.” This may mean that an APRN has completed a certification process to be recognized as a professional in that particular advanced nursing field, such as FNP-BC for Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner.
While APRNs work in tandem with doctors to provide quality care for patients, the roles are different. While some APRNs provide primary medical care, they may be required by their state to do so in collaboration with a licensed physician.
However, APRNs are permitted to complete some tasks that may otherwise be handled by a doctor, such as providing primary care, ordering diagnostic tests, prescribing medication and managing a patient’s overall care.
While the level of autonomy may vary depending on the type or specialty, APRNs are generally permitted to prescribe some medication and other treatments to patients. An APRN’s ability to manage patients’ prescriptions can also depend on other factors. For example, nurse practitioners’ prescriptive authority for certain medications may vary by state.
To practice as an APRN in a given state, individuals are required to become licensed, generally by the Board of Nursing for that state. Requirements for nursing licensure vary by state, so it is important for aspiring APRNs to research what standards need to be to obtain and renew a license.
APRN is a term that applies to several advanced nursing roles, including nurse practitioners (NPs). ARNP is a variation of APRN meaning advanced registered nurse practitioner. Some nursing boards still refer to their graduate nurses as ARNPs but they typically have the same roles and responsibilities as their APRN colleagues.
APRNs and PAs both receive a master’s level education in health care. The two careers are certified through different organizations but both must pass a certification exam. APRN education may focus on a patient-centered approach while PA education may focus on a medical model in a particular area of medicine rather than a population.
The level of autonomy for APRNs depends on their specific role. According to the AANP, 25 states and the District of Columbia have approved “full practice” status for NPs, allowing them to work independently. CNMs are permitted to work independently in 28 states, and CRNAs are allowed to practice independently in 19 states.