3. Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
Analysis of RN and APRN
All states have a nurse practice act that is governed by the individual state’s legislature (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, n.d.). Each state nurse practice act must contain a board of nursing, educational program standards, standards and scope of nursing practice, types of titles and licenses, requirements for licensure, and grounds for disciplinary action (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, n.d.). The purpose of state practice acts is to provide laws that regulate the nursing profession and to ensure patient safety (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, n.d.).
In South Carolina, the roles of the advanced practiced registered nurse, APRN, and the registered nurse, RN, are outlined within the code of laws (South Carolina Legislature, n.d.). APRN’s are defined as certified nurse-midwives, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners (South Carolina Legislature, n.d.). These individuals differ from RN’s in that they must have a minimum of a Master’s degree, can perform delegated medical acts, and can practice within approved protocols under physician support (South Carolina Legislature, n.d.). Also, each of the four types of APRN’s are defined individually in more detail within the code of law (South Carolina Legislature, n.d.). The roles of the RN and APRN overlap to an extent, because APRN’s can perform the duties of an RN in addition to the new ones that are defined by their specialty area of practice (South Carolina Legislature, n.d.).
How These Differences are Seen in Practicum
Specific skills that this nurse has observed the nurse practitioner, NP, use in the clinical setting include diagnosing patients, prescribing pharmacological interventions, and ordering laboratory tests (APRN Consensus Work Group, & National Council of State Boards of Nursing APRN Advisory Committee, 2008). All three of these skills are not permitted by the RN, and are considered advanced practice skills (APRN Consensus Work Group, & National Council of State Boards of Nursing APRN Advisory Committee, 2008). The NP is supported by two of the gastroenterologists at the office, and she does seek their input when a patient presents with a need outside of the usual protocols for care. She performs individual medical history reviews and physical assessments that allow her to create a patient diagnosis. Any laboratory tests such as blood work, cultures, and computerized tomography scans are ordered independently by the NP. After establishing a patient diagnosis and creating a treatment plan, the NP prescribes the appropriate pharmacologic treatment for the patient.
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