Get to Know Your APRN Colleagues

February 06, 2019

You may have noticed advanced practice nurses are a growing presence on the Providence St. Joseph Nursing team. We now number over 1,340 nurses throughout PSJH, a will surely grow as more APRN colleagues answer the call to help provide efficient, patient-centered and quality care across our ministries.

We partner with you at the bedside and in the clinic every day with the same goal to provide the best care for every patient, every time. But who are we and what’s the deal with all those initials? CNM, ARNP, APRN, DNP, CNS, FNP, ANP, CRNA to name a few. Let’s make sense of it so you know who you’re working alongside.

APRN/APN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse/Advanced Practice Nurse) – the bucket term including all advanced practice nurses with a master’s or doctoral degree with a clinical focus.

ARNP (Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner) – comprise the largest number of APRNs and include those who are board certified to provide primary and acute care. Certification is both population based including the Family (across the lifespan), Adult – Gerontology, Neonatal, Pediatrics and Women’s, as well as specialty-based such as Psychiatry. Additionally, Acute Care nurse practitioners are specially prepared for hospital-based care and recently an Emergency Medicine certification has become available.

CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) – usually work in a specialty area as educators, leaders and program designers. Typically CNSs are engaged in driving best practice and facilitating population-based care in our hospitals and clinics.

CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) – administer anesthesia and pain procedures. CRNAs provide pre-anesthesia and post-anesthesia care, partnering closely with pre-op, OR and PACU RNs.

CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) – provide primary care and gynecologic care to women from adolescence onward, and newborns for the first 28 days of life. CNMs provide well woman care and prenatal care as well as attending healthy deliveries in hospitals, birthing centers, and occasionally homes. It is estimated 8-10 % of all births are attended by CNMs in the United States.

MN or DNP (Master’s in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice) – a Master’s in Nursing remains the national educational standard for advanced practice nursing in all states. However about 15 years ago DNP programs arose as an answer to preparing APRNs for practice in an increasingly complex care delivery environment. While there are differences in academic and clinical training, certification and scope of practice are the same between MN and DNP prepared APRNs. Eventually all entry level APRNs will be required to complete a DNP degree.

While roles and scope of practice vary between states and PSJH ministries, we anticipate a growing APRN presence on all our teams as we reshape care teams to realize Health for a Better World. Feel free to reach out to your APRN partners to understand more about their skill set, training, and role. You’ll find APRN partners are great allies in providing excellent patient care and share a strong nursing ethic.