One of the recommendations made in the report by Institute of Medicine (IOM) is that nurses should attain higher educational levels and training through an enhanced education system focused at promoting seamless academic progression (IOM, 2011). To achieve this goal, the IOM report set a goal of ensuring that 80% of nurses in the American health care system attain baccalaureate qualifications by 2020 and double the number of nurses with doctorate qualifications during the same time frame (IOM,2011).
Nurse engagement in advanced education and lifelong learning has been identified as critical aspect in enhancing their skills and knowledge to enable them address the emerging challenges in the health care system (Ronnebaum & Schmer, 2015). In view of the ongoing reforms in the health sector, master’s prepared nurses have become a critical segment in the delivery of health services in the country. The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of master’s prepared nurse in the health care system by focusing on family nurse practitioner, my chosen specialty.
Family Nurse Practitioner and Rationale for Advanced Practice role
Family nurse practitioners (FNP) are advanced practice registered nurses with master’s education qualifications (Ying & Orna, 2016). As advanced practice nurses, FNPs provide family oriented healthcare services by working independently or collaboratively with stakeholders in the health system,including other healthcare professionals. The motivation for selecting family nurse practitioner specialty is informed by various factors. First, the specialty is in compliance with my professional interest, personal values, skills and abilities.
Personally, health and wellbeing of a family is critical in promoting socio economic development of communities, countries and the world at large. Secondly, the healthcare system is facing shortage of primary care providers, while the demand for family focused care is on the increasing trend, especially due to the growing aging population. Thus,pursuing an advanced nursing role is essential for career progression and empowering nurses with skills and knowledge to enhance their capacity to deliver holistic primary care and specialized practice in various healthcare settings.
Role of Family Nurse Practitioners
FNPs provide family focused healthcare services to patients across the lifespan. In particular, family nurse practitioners provide holistic care to the entire patient population, from infants to the elderly (Ying & Orna,2016). FNPs have advanced skills and knowledge which enhance their capacity as primary care providers to offer continuous and holistic care to the targeted patient population. This includes offering appropriate disease management services, undertaking health promotion, and disease prevention services. Thus,family nurse practitioners are competent and qualified in management of chronic disorders, addressing the health and wellbeing of infants, children, women, adolescents,and patients of all ages, including prenatal care. Additionally, family nurse practitioners are involved in treatment of minor and acute health conditions, across the lifespan(Ying & Orna, 2016).
In the healthcare system, family nurse practitioners collaborate with other specialist particularly in managing chronic conditions and also in long term care. Family nurse practitioners also offer more aspecialized clinical services on the basis of their advanced knowledge and skills in evidence based practice. The services include diagnosing diseases, ordering and interpretation of diagnostic tests, undertaking patient assessment and prescription of medications, including controlled drugs (Ying& Orna, 2016).
The requirements for master’s prepared nurse in the healthcare system include the ability to integrate and apply evidence based practice in provision of quality,professional, ethical and patient centered care. Secondly, master’s prepared nurses are required to apply technological applications in coordinating and providing advanced care services in diverse care settings. Nurse practitioners are also required to provide leadership and act as role models of health and wellbeing in various settings,including workplaces and in the larger community setup. It is also important for master’s prepared nurses use leadership skills in promoting positive change in the healthcare system through various approaches, including formulating appropriate policies (Hanks, Kristen & Stafford, 2018).
Impact of advanced practice role on nurse career development
Advanced practice role has considerable impacts on registered nurse career development. First, it creates additional opportunities for nurses to apply and practice to the full extent of their education, training and experience. The IOM(2011) report recommends removal of practice barriers, which limits the ability of advanced nurses to apply their skills and knowledge in providing care in various jurisdictions. In this case, advanced practice role would enhance career development of registered nurses by enabling them to undertake clinical roles initially reserved for primary care physicians.
Secondly, advanced practice role would increase the involvement of nurses in making decisions in clinical settings. This would enhance career advancement because registered nurses would act as full partners with physicians and other healthcare professionals in formulating and reforming healthcare system in the country. Additionally, advanced practice role could enhance nurse career advancement by promoting their leadership skills, which enables them to take up positions in various settings and work environment,including non-governmental organizations, private and public sectors among others(IOM, 2011)..
Advancing education and training is crucial in enhancing the skills and knowledge of registered nurses. In addition, taking advanced roles promotes professional development of registered nurses. In this regard, pursuing graduate studies in nursing enhances the capacity of registered nurse to offer quality, ethical and patient centered services to the public. My selection of family nurse practitioner specialty is informed by desire to advance my career and enhance my ability to provide advanced and specialized care to patients across the lifespan.
Hanks, R., Kristen, S., & Stafford, L.(2018).Patient Advocacy at the APRN Level: A Direction for the Future. NursingForum Volume, 53(1); 5-11.
IOM (Institute of Medicine). (2011). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Ronnebaum, E., & Schmer, C. (2015). Patient advocacy and the Affordable Care Act: The growing need for nurses to be culturally aware. Open Journal of Nursing, 5(3), 237–245.
Ying, X., & Orna, I.(2016). Cultivating the role of nurse practitioners in providing primary care to vulnerable populations in an era of health-care reform. Sage Journals, 17(1): 24-31.