In an increasingly evolving and complex health care sector, Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) has become inevitable. Advanced practice for nurses is a multifaceted terminology explaining a precocious level of nursing practice that optimizes the utilization of tertiary training, extensive nursing competence, and skill in handling the health care demands of patients and their families. APN entails establishing and processing knowledge, explaining and applying clinical research and theory. Consequently, health care in the United States today poses complex challenges such as inadequate professionals, high costs, incorporation of high technology and poor quality care. In the United States, every state has regulations describing the scope of practice for nurses as well as professional advancement plans. In Florida, APN is playing a significant role by providing new means of ensuring cost-effective care and optimizing access to qualified staff for patients (Kung & Rudner, 2014).
Unlike in the past, the current patient population is well informed about quality care services and the state has shown its desire to facilitate meeting these patients’ expectations through licensure and continuing learning. APN are targeting adequate and quality health care services to under-served populations in Florida. The need for innovative professionals to serve as leaders in heath sector has now escalated. The advanced nursing practice provides solutions to respond to the increasing demand for quality services. In Florida, APN fills the gap in meeting the health demands of patients and their families, through developing nursing knowledge and promoting a viable and efficient health-care sector. The Florida Board of Nursing has laid various Statutes transcribed in the Nurse Practice Act and APN practice guideline to facilitate APNs for taking independent direct care responsibilities as a professional nurse practitioner. These Statutes provide a framework that defines advanced nursing practice, highlighted its features and potential responsibilities for professional nurses.
The scope of APN
In Florida, the minimum educational requirement for APN is a graduate degree in nursing. The Board of Nursing in Florida holds a strong belief that a nurse with this kind of graduate qualification has an outstanding basis in the theoretical principles of nursing and can foster nursing research, produce new insights and apply the acquired knowledge in clinical practice. Even though a graduate degree is critical for APN, nurses with one or more graduate degrees are not considered to be at an advanced level based on such qualifications. However, the aggregate of graduate preparations and clinical exposure enables nurses to build the skills needed in APN. APNs devote to lifelong learning to ensure that their competencies match the evolving clinical practices and patient needs (Lowe, Plummer, O’Brien, & Boyd, 2011). Besides, the new trends in clinical technology require regular training to familiarize with new models of treatment.
A legal framework explaining advanced nursing practice enhances a systematized state approach allowing flexibility across Florida and provides a serene environment for new roles to thrive. Such a systematized model is essential to promote accessibility to quality health care services, particularly for the under-served populations. Although these regulations may not be breached, they are essential guidelines that help APNs to practice within the scope and expectations of the health care sector. The essence of such regulations is to ensure that nurses attain the standard levels of training. When new roles in APN arise, there may be a need for new legislation to address the new situation in the nursing practice.
Licensure and practice environments
In Florida, APNs include registered nurses who are licensed by the Florida Nursing Board. It is the mandate of the state government to ensure that nurses working within its jurisdiction are registered. This practice is meant to protect the welfare of patients from unscrupulous nursing practices. Hospitals in Florida may lack adequate knowledge to recruit qualified nurses, thus, to ward off imposters and unqualified individuals; the board of nursing ensures regular assessment for nursing competence. Education level is the first stage considered while licensing to verify that individuals engaging in nursing practice are qualified. The second requirement for licensure in Florida is the completion of a national licensure test. Criminal backgrounds and testing for a history of substance abuse is done before licensure. These processes are meant to guarantee the public that health issues are directed to the right people (Lowe et al., 2011).
Regarding full practice, Florida nurse practice and licensure rules require all registered nurses examine patients, diagnose, commence, and handle treatments concerning the expectations of the Florida Nursing Board (Kung & Rudner, 2014). The National Council of States Boards of Nursing in the United States endorses this model. Limited practice allows the state practice and licensure regulations to decrease the ability of the practicing nurses to embark in one aspect of nursing professional practice. Restricted practice allows State to initiate supervision or team coordination by an independent health discipline in the dispensation of patient care.
While joining the employment sector, a beginner should manifest the ability to develop some form of professional organization and great devotion to performing. Besides, one should manifest ability to attain APN goals and ability to perform with minimal support. Highly notable weaknesses include poor role articulation and lack of confidence. According to Hausdorf and Swanson (2014), when serving as a nurse practitioner, it is necessary to ensure consultations with the experienced staff to gain confidence and learn faster. Dealing with patients will help develop health care skills and build decision-making competencies. Developing a strong support system can help deal with excessive burn out since one can talk to friends and make solutions to problems. Exercising helps the body muscles to relax as well as diverts away stressful thoughts. In most cases, burn out arise due to work overload, so it is necessary to get adequate breaks to avoid burnouts.
Local and national organizations offering opportunities for APNs
Professional networking is critical for career advancement for nurses. Joining professional organizations is a sure way of keeping professional networking, and Florida Nurse Practitioner Network (FNPN) is a locally based organization that seeks to facilitate networking for its members across the state. Kung and Rudner (2014), apart from offering education preparation for nurse practitioners, FNPN serves as a networking platform for nurses. This organization provides nurses with a chance to kick-start a career in a reputable organization in Florida. For fresh graduates, FNPN is a suitable marketing platform because their member has a wide network to job opportunities locally and abroad.
On the national level, American Association of NPs is a comprehensive body of nurse practitioners seeking to develop their careers within reputable organizations. This organization has vast resources in legislation, practice and various important opportunities for nurse practitioners. Currently, this organization is one of the largest health-related platform preparing and connecting nurses to the job market all over the world. Moreover, the two organizations are well networked within the US thus making it easy for new members to access employment opportunities.
APNs roles, abilities, and skills
APN aims at clinical practice via direct conduct either with patients or via a supportive or consultative capacity. In Florida, the APN roles recognized include the nurse practitioner and the nurse specialist. Nurse practitioners offer direct care to clients aiming at health advancement, treatment, and handling of health cases (Hausdorf & Swanson, 2014). Nurse practitioners include the licensed nurses with advanced educational training and exposure. They manifest the ability to medicate autonomously, guide, and conduct certain practices within their stipulated field of work. On the other hand, clinical nurse experts give advanced nursing care for specific patient populations. They assume a crucial role in the formulation of clinical procedures and orchestrate system change (Hausdorf & Swanson, 2014). Both roles entail education research and leadership skills. Both manifest the ability to engage patients and other staff in tackling issues at the individual and institutional level. The ultimate goal of these two clusters of nurse professionals is to enhance health promotion and management of health conditions.
Florida’s health care demands are bulging with the acute supply of health care practitioners and the complex nature of the health sector. APN is assisting contain these escalating needs. In a bid to ensure a deep-rooted impact, APN must be advocated and maintained. With devotion and recognition of APN’s significance at every stage of health care, APN can fill the gap in the health care sector in Florida.
Hausdorf, P., & Swanson, S. (2014). A Nonclinical Competency Model for Case Managers: Design and Validation for Home Health Care Services. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 26(3), 154-162.
Kung, Y., & Rudner, N. (2014). Political Advocacy and Practice Barriers: A Survey of Florida APRNs. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27(3), 145-151.
Lowe, G., Plummer, V., O’Brien, A., & Boyd, L. (2011). Time to Clarify – the value of Advanced Practice Nursing roles in Health Care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(3), 677-685.