The Nursing Practitioner (NP) role was coined in 1965 to address medical needs. NPs were trained to eradicate illnesses and diseases among low-income women, children, the elderly, and those living with disabilities. Nevertheless, the NP role has evolved to address the ever-changing patients’ needs and fit the evolving health care system.
Role of the Nurse Practitioner
The role of the NP has significantly changed in five decades. In the past, NPs were involved in the provision of holistic primary care that aimed to prevent illnesses, diseases and improve the wellbeing of people (Williams & Howard, 2017). The nurses were trained in clinical care and could conduct routine tasks such as testing, examination, and immunization (Brassard, 2014). However, the NP role has significantly changed because these professionals are trained to utilize evidence and nursing theories to perform and interpret diagnostic results, treat chronic conditions, prescribe medications, and manage a patient’s general care.
Elements of Role Transition
Leadership and quality care are notable elements of role transition. The leadership element envisages professional responsibility and advocacy. Nurses transitioning from Registered Nurse (RN) to Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) are expected to embrace leadership opportunities to facilitate the needed healthcare changes (Metzger & Rivers, 2014). In relation to quality care, nurses transitioning to the APN role are required to offer services that improve patient outcomes (McComiskey, 2018). Nurses are further expected to utilize evidence-based findings in clinical practice to provide comprehensive care that ultimately improves patient outcomes.
Reflection as Nurse Staff
I have understood my competence and scope of practice as a nurse staff throughout my practice, thus played my role effectively and sought to improve myself. I have provided safe care in accordance with standards set alongside my scope of practice. Nevertheless, I desire to transition to acquire modern knowledge and skills relevant in the ever-changing nursing practice; however, transitioning from RN to APN is likely to challenge my knowledge and skills. I have to address the skills and knowledge gap in the needed competency areas to conduct complex diagnoses, vary treatment plans, and properly maintain electronic medical records.
During an asthmatic patient’s assessment, I witnessed a nurse fail to thoroughly examine a patient’s medical history before recommending a treatment plan. It is significant to examine previous drug use because medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, and beta-blockers can trigger asthmatic attacks (Burtson & Stichler, 2010). I would have conducted a comprehensive medical history to determine the right treatment approach for the best health outcomes.
Professionalism and Personal Beliefs
In my opinion, professionalism means a nurse’s ability to provide quality care to patients while guaranteeing them respect, advocacy, and responsibility. For that matter, I believe it is my responsibility to respect patients and colleagues and their personal values regardless of their actions’ outcomes. Furthermore, I believe it is my moral responsibility to advocate for my patients’ welfare while protecting them from harm.
Health Outcomes and Personal Philosophy
The NPs will positively affect patient outcomes because they will offer healthcare services of similar quality to those offered by physicians. Per Woo et al. (2017), NPs will supplement physicians in providing healthcare services to underserved populations. In view of the need to improve patient outcomes, my nursing philosophy revolves around establishing relationships with patients and families to improve healthcare outcomes, which is in line with Goodman’s (2015) argument that nurses can accurately assess and diagnose patients if they establish functional relationships. Buerhaus et al. (2017) add that functional relationships established help to involve patients and their family members in care provision endeavors. My nursing goal is to provide culturally competent care to patients and my vision is to engage patients in their care plans. Additionally, I intend to incorporate evidence-based findings to reduce hospital-acquired infections by instituting contemporary skin disinfection protocols before handling patients.
The NP’s role has changed from the eradication of illness and diseases to the application of evidence-based findings to provide culturally competent care to patients. In transitioning from RN to APN, nurses need to acquire skills and knowledge relating to leadership and the provision of high-quality care. Moreover, clinical experiences and personal beliefs define nurses’ ability to uphold respect, advocacy, and responsibility. Going forward, I plan to establish functional relationships with my patients and incorporate evidence-based findings into clinical practice.
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Buerhaus, P., Skinner, L., Auerbach, D. & Staiger, D. (2017). State of the registered nurse workforce as a new era of health reform emerges. Nursing Economics, 35, 229–237.
Burtson, P. & Stichler J. (2010). Nursing work environment and nurse caring: Relationship among motivational factors. J Adv Nurs. 66(8), 1819–1831.
Goodman, T. (2015). RN-to-BSN programs key to reaching an important nursing goal. AORN, 102(1), 1-2.
McComiskey, C. (2018). The role of the nurse practitioner: A 50-year history. Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing, 7(1), 1-2.
Metzger, R., & Rivers, C. (2014). Advanced practice nursing organizational leadership model. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 10(5), 337-343.
Williams, T., & Howard, P. (2017). An academic-practice partnership model to grow and sustain advanced practice nursing. Journal of Nursing Administration, 47, 629–635.
Woo, B., Lee, J., & Tam, W. (2017). The impact of the advanced practice nursing role on quality of care, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and cost in the emergency and critical care settings: a systematic review. Human Resources for Health, 15(1), 63.