The Major Roles of the Advanced Nurse


Scientific research plays a significant role in the nursing profession focusing on such areas as epidemiology, the quality of health services, and medical errors. The current studies in the field of health care in the United States are mainly focused on the population health status rather than on the well-being of an individual patient. Nurses play an expanded role in health care and use an evidence-based approach in making clinical decisions in the course of their practice. New responsibilities in providing and coordinating health care and interprofessional collaboration require the development of new skills from nurses. Therefore, advanced practice nurses should have an opportunity to achieve better training and education to provide high-level health care to patients. The purpose of this paper is to detect the major roles of the advanced nurse and reasons for achieving them, differentiate between the clinical and non-clinical master’s prepared nurses, and discuss the impact of those roles on one’s nursing career.

The Chosen Specialty and Reasons for Pursuing a Role of the Advanced Nurse

It is emphasized that educated nurse leaders and advanced practice nurses are supposed to develop leadership skills, make decisions based on the evidence-based approach, and provide expert clinical care to strengthen the role of nursing in the changing environment of the healthcare system (Bender, 2016). Therefore, the objective of becoming an acute care gerontology nurse practitioner requires obtaining a master’s degree in nursing. The reasons for pursuing the role of the advanced nurse are to obtain a chance to practice in acute settings with the acute population to provide maximum advantages and better quality of life to elderly patients according to their needs. It would be beneficial to extend knowledge and perfect skills in critical thinking to become a true master in this field. Achieving the role of the advanced nurse also gives such benefits as an opportunity to work in hospitals, long-term care organizations, in specialty offices with physicians, as well as the advantage of the future door opening in the desired medical area.

The emerging of advanced nursing was caused by such factors as increasing costs in the health care field, as well as the development of new methods of treatment. The advanced nurse role provides more skills and a better understanding of the future profession. It ensures shifting from bedside care to a more dynamic and conceptual role while giving more autonomy in selecting places for practicing. Advanced nurses positively impact other staff in the hospital by improving their knowledge and competence, and promoting teamwork. Some researchers also state that a registered nurse with a master’s degree is educated specifically to coordinate the healthcare of patients by collaborating with the members of the medical team at the level of a microsystem (Bender, 2016).

Role Differences Between Clinical and Nonclinical Nurses

It is crucial to differentiate between the roles of clinical and non-clinical master’s prepared nurses. Nonclinical roles historically do not provide any testing or treatment of patients. There are many roles that nonclinical nurses may obtain. Some of them are educator nurses who prepare the nursing workforce to provide quality medical care, case managers, receptionists, or administrative assistants such as supervisor, nurse executive, and nurse manager providing the overall coordination in a hospital. The medical education of nonclinical nurses does not involve any specific studies and is formal. It is emphasized by some researchers that “the roles and optimal mix of clinical and non-clinical professionals in coordinating care are not clear” (Fraher, Spetz, & Naylor, 2015, p. 6).

Clinical nurses closely work with patients with complex diseases, participate in diagnosis and prescription making activities, and their roles are not limited to patient care or screening. Their competencies and skills include engagement with families of the patients, monitoring and evaluation, teamwork and collaboration, and health management of the population. To detect current needs in health care and target some necessary interventions, advanced practice nurses utilize a variety of data from electronic medical records. It is also noted that nurses “increasingly use health information technologies to advance evidence-based practice” (Fraher, Spetz, & Naylor, 2015, p. 5). A degree in a specific specialty is regarded to be necessary for a clinical nurse.

Advanced Practice Nursing, its Four Roles, and Requirements

The main four roles used to define the advanced practice nursing include certified nurse-midwife providing medical services to families, nurse anesthetists providing anesthesia services, clinical nurse specialists caring for a patient with severe diseases, and certified nurse practitioners providing care for a vulnerable population. The nurses obtain a Master’s degree in one of these roles selecting a population focus group such as pediatrics, neonatal, gerontology, mental health, and women’s health. There are also such roles as nurse educators who should have the pedagogic experience, nurse researchers with master program requirements, and clinical nurse leaders prepared in a doctorate program. It is noted that “clinical nurse leaders promote and sustain best practices through role modeling and can reinforce education in an informal, non-threatening manner through their continuous presence” (Bender, 2016, p. E25).

Advanced nurses are believed to have a positive impact on a patient’s experience of health care services by securing support and knowledge about a disease and the ways to prevent it or improve the quality of life. The main requirements for the roles of advanced nursing include communicative skills and abilities to impact patients’ outcomes and safety by ensuring patient care when a physician is absent.

The role of an advanced nurse as a care coordinator ensuring the collaboration and teamwork to improve the quality of health care has a great impact on the level of the clinical services used by patients, which influences the number of hospitalizations and the length of stay. It is stated that frequent interactions result in better monitoring of the status of illness and involve changes in behavior and transition care (Conway, O’Donnell, & Yates, 2017). The impact of an advanced nurse on the goals and priorities of health care organizations results in better and timely patient care. An advanced nurse can also take up the position of junior physician to reduce the costs of the hospital.

Impact of an Advanced Practice Role in the Career of a Registered Nurse

The advanced nursing role can greatly impact the career of a nurse. According to the report of the Institute of Medicine, it is recommended to expand opportunities for registered nurses not only to lead efforts in collaboration but also to impact changes to advanced health (Institute of Medicine (US). Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, 2010). Nurses are expected to be responsible for their professional growth and continue their education on a lifelong basis to develop their practice and leadership skills. There is also a goal to increase the number of nurses who have a doctor and a baccalaureate degree by 2020. The nurses with master and doctor degrees might be involved in the research works and apply for junior physician and administration executive positions.


The purpose of this paper was to detect the major roles of the advanced nurse and the reasons for achieving them. In the current health care system, advanced nurse practitioners play a significant role in reaching the goals of the medical organizations and ensuring proper collaboration, teamwork, and patients’ satisfaction with the quality of the provided services. The difference between the clinical and non-clinical master’s prepared nurse was identified. The impact of the roles of an advanced nurse on the career of a registered nurse was discussed.


Bender, M. (2016). Conceptualizing clinical nurse leader practice: An interpretive synthesis. Journal of Nursing Management, 24(1), E23-E31.

Conway, A., O’Donnell, C., & Yates, P. (2017). The effectiveness of the Nurse Care Coordinator role on patient-reported and health service outcomes: A systematic review. Evaluation & the Health Professions, 1(1), 1-89.

Fraher, E., Spetz, J., & Naylor, M. D. (2015). Nursing in a transformed health care system: New roles, new rules. LDI Research Briefs, 5(1), 1-12.

Institute of Medicine (US). Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing. (2010). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health: Report Recommendations. Web.