As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, advanced practice nurses may:

  • Conduct patient histories and physical exams.
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses.
  • Order and interpret tests.
  • Initiate and manage therapies for acute or chronic health problems.
  • Perform minor surgical procedures.
  • Counsel patients on preventive health care, educate patients and conduct health screenings.
  • Assist in surgery.
  • Coordinate patient referral and follow-up care with physician specialists.
  • Coordinate hospital care and home care.
  • Insertion and removal of lines and catheters.
  • Write prescriptions for drugs and medical devices.
  • Assist in educating students, nurses, medical students and residents.

Advanced practice nurses may also practice educational, research and administrative duties.

Specialty Areas for Advanced Practice Nurses

We have more than 107 advanced practice nurses credentialed to see patients in many specialty areas, including:

  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Cardiovascular medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • General internal medicine
  • General surgery
  • Neoplastic diseases
  • Nephrology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Pulmonary/critical care medicine
  • Transplant surgery
  • Urology
  • Trauma surgery
  • Otolaryngology plastics
  • Occupational Health
  • Pediatrics
  • Infectious Disease
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Family Practice/Internal Medicine
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Gynecology

Advanced Practice Nursing History, Education and Skills

Advanced practice nurses have provided excellent health care for nearly half a century. The first advanced practice nurses were educated at the University of Colorado in 1965. Programs soon spread across the U.S. As of 2010, there are about 140,000 practicing advanced practice nurses. Close to 8,000 new advanced practice nurses are prepared each year at over 325 colleges and universities.

Entry-level preparation for advanced practice nurses is a graduate degree. While most advanced practice nurse programs currently award master's degrees and/or post-master's certificates, an increasing number of programs award doctoral degrees. In 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing recommended a shift in preparing all advanced practice nurses to the doctoral level by 2015 with the degree title of doctor of nursing practice, or DNP (AACN, 2004; AANP, 2010).

Advanced practice nurses education provides theoretical and evidence-based clinical knowledge and learning experiences for role development as an advanced practice nurse. The emphasis in a graduate advanced practice nurse program is on the development of clinical and professional expertise necessary for comprehensive primary and specialty care in a variety of settings. The advanced practice nurse curriculum should be designed to prepare graduates to qualify for national certification in their anticipated area of population focused practice. Additionally, advanced practice nurse programs cultivate advanced skills in the roles of educator, counselor, advocate, consultant, manager, researcher and mentor.

Learn more about our Advanced Practice Nurse clinical and clerkship opportunities.