Nursing Degree & Career – APN (Advanced Practice Nursing)
Nurses with an APN degree will need to be able to work well under pressure and enjoy a good rapport with people from a variety of backgrounds. APN is a blanket term that includes careers like nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives. Because APN degrees require advanced training in nursing, many graduates of APN programs will be able to perform tasks that were once reserved for medical doctors. APN graduates can expect to have a wide range of duties, some of which may include assisting doctors, managing patient care, and evaluating and screening incoming patients.
Due to the additional training required to work as an APN, salaries tend to be higher than those from RNs. Of course, like many professions, the true amount an APN can expect to receive will vary with their level of experience, geographic location and the specialization, if any, they choose to work within. Salaries can begin around $50,000 and sometimes go well into the six figures for those with exceptional experience and training.
Most nurses working towards an APN begin their careers as RNs and later return to school to pursue advanced and specialized training as an APN. Several years of experience in the nursing field can only serve to help those looking to become an APN and it can be advantageous to know your interests when choosing a specialization to work with as an APN. At a minimum, an APN will need to have completed a Master’s degree in nursing, though some will take it one step further and pursue a PhD. Specializations are normally required and nurses should be prepared to undergo a rigorous and research focused program. After a program is completed an APN will also need to pass a certification exam in order to practice and must maintain these licenses throughout their careers.
APNs are becoming more and more popular in the medical field today because they can perform many of the same tasks as doctors but at a fraction of the cost to the medical facility. Depending on the specialization an APN chooses to pursue, a wide range of jobs may be open and in some areas demand will be high for APN services. APNs will be able to find employment not only in hospitals but in long-term care facilities, home health care, specialized practices and community health, providing a wide range of career opportunities.