with advanced nursing degrees to draw upon, (2) faculty salaries and benefits that are not comparable to those of nurses with advanced nursing degrees working in clinical settings, and (3) a culture that promotes obtaining clinical experience prior to continuing graduate education.
Nurses prepared at the graduate level to provide advanced practice services include those with master’s and doctoral degrees. APRNs serve as NPs, certified nurse midwives (CNMs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). To gain certification in one of these advanced practice areas, nurses must take specialized courses in addition to a basic core curriculum. Credit requirements vary from program to program and from specialty to specialty, but typically range from a minimum of 40 credits for a master’s to more than 80 credits for a DNP. Upon completion of required coursework and clinical hours, students must take a certification exam that is administered by a credentialing organization relevant to the specific specialization, such as the American Nursing Credentialing Center (for NPs and CNSs), the American Midwifery Certification Board (for CNMs), or the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (for CRNAs).