APRN: CNM, NP, CNS, CRNA: Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and the Acronyms Defined
Acronyms and abbreviations are frequently used by healthcare providers. At times, it could be really confusing for the patients who don’t have the medical diploma or for newly qualified and student nurses. Have you ever glanced at the nurse’s name tag, wondering what the letters behind her name mean? The string of letters is their designation. The confusion is normal, however, you would probably feel a bit more confident if you know what the acronym stands for. Here are some of the most common acronyms for Advanced Practice Nurses and their meaning.
APRN: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is the umbrella term for all nurses in advanced roles in health care. They have earned master’s or doctoral degrees in addition to their initial nursing education and licenses. APRNs are primary care providers who provide preventive care services, treat and diagnose illnesses, manage chronic diseases, advise the public on health issues and many other duties. The APRNs can also prescribe medication and interpret diagnostic exams like MRIs and blood tests.
Under the umbrella of this acronym we find the different types of APRNs Practice Specialty Roles. They are Nurse Practitioner (NP), Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Certified Nurse Anesthetics (CRNA).
1. NP: Nurse Practitioners
Nurse Practitioners (NP) are Registered nurses (RN) who have completed either a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSM) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). They provide primary, acute, and specialty healthcare focusing on the overall health and wellbeing of a patient. As clinicians, they focus on health promotion and disease prevention. Like the other physicians, NPs are advanced enough to examine, diagnose and provide treatment to the patients. In conclusion, Nurse Practitioners have more authority than Registered Nurses and some have responsibilities similar to the ones of a doctor
2. CNM: Certified Nurse-Midwife
Certified Nurse-Midwife is an advanced practice registered nurse who has completed a midwifery education. As licensed healthcare professionals CNMs provide care for women throughout different stages of their lives. They specialize in women’s reproductive health and childbirth who can also perform annual exams, give counseling and write prescriptions.
3. CNS: Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is an APRN with a graduate-level education and clinical training. There has always been a confusion around the CNSs duties, even from the other nurses. In general, if the Nurse Practitioner (NP) is taking care of the patients, the responsibilities of the Clinical Nurse Specialist include dealing with the nurses and their duties. Making sure that the nurses have the knowledge, supplies and equipment they need to provide the best service possible is one of the responsibilities of the CNS. They also take care of the patients by providing diagnosis and treatment when required. It is not the most straightforward role and there’s no wonder why it is among the most complicated ones in the field.
4. CRNA: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetics
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetics (CRNAs) provide a full range of anesthesia to patients usually during surgical or obstetric procedure. Another part of the job is the preoperational care which includes evaluation of the health condition of the patient and allergies.
In order to become a CRNA a nurse should complete a minimum of master’s degree, but in most cases employers require a DNP (Doctor of nursing practice) degree. Many registered nurse and nursing students are making steps towards becoming a CRNA. And for a good reason, as CRNAs are some of the highest paid specialties in the nursing profession.
It is good to know the nurse designations as you may find yourself in situations when you would need it. If you are a student nurse or a newly qualified nurse you would probably face those acronyms a lot in your everyday activities. But do not be harsh on yourself. Even if you have recently started working in the field, you still have time to get on track.
There are useful online resources which explain nursing acronyms and abbreviations. For instance, you can check out the list and learn more about the specific titles and initials by advanced practice nurses from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_practice_nurse
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