An ARNP, or advanced registered nurse practitioner, is a health care professional who has had extensive education and training. This allows her to work independently and provide more medical care than other nurses. She can provide both preventative and diagnostic services in many different health care settings.
Becoming an advanced registered nurse practitioner takes more than just a degree and certification. After becoming a registered nurse, she must complete a two-year master's degree program. Alternatively, she may complete a specialty certification program which can take up to 18 months. Finally, she must pass a written exam to obtain a license. Further postgraduate education hours must be completed to renew the ARNP license.
An ARNP can perform medical exams and physicals and can diagnose and treat illnesses, injuries, and diseases. She can order lab tests and X-rays and is able to write prescriptions for medications and therapies. Many ARNPs can also perform minor surgery. They can do almost anything that a physician can do.
Most of these highly skilled nurses work as certified nurse midwives, anesthetists, and nurse specialists, but many other certifications can be attained as well. ARNPs frequently become certified in critical, psychiatric, or emergency care. They can also choose to specialize in pediatrics, oncology, or gynecology and obstetrics.
These nurses are able to provide well baby and child care and can administer immunizations. Counseling and family planning services are also frequently provided by ARNPs as well as prenatal care. Advanced registered nurses can suture patients and perform skin biopsies. They are also able to set broken bones and put them in casts.
ARNPs may practice alongside a physician in the office or function in in a similar capacity in a clinic. Nurses in public schools and colleges are often nurse practitioners. These nurses may also work in a hospital, particularly in the emergency room. Rather than a physician, many emergency rooms now have an ARNP on duty as the primary care provider. A physician is on call for more in-depth diagnosis and care.
In the United States, it has been proposed that by 2015 each ARNP should be required to obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. This degree would take the place of the current master's and post-master's programs and would only affect new nurse practitioners. Those who were already in practice would be exempt and would not be required to obtain this degree.