ily in a university setting. The BSN is the most common entry point into graduate education.


Master’s Degrees in Nursing (MSN/Other) prepare RNs primarily for roles in nursing administration and clinical leadership, faculty, and for advanced practice in a nursing specialty area. The up to two years of education typically occurs in a university setting. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) receive advanced clinical preparation (generally a Master’s degree and/or post Master’s Certificate, although the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is increasingly being granted). Specific titles and credentials vary by state approval processes, formal recognition and scope of practice as well as by board certification. APRNs fall into four broad categories: Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Anesthetist, and Nurse Midwife:


Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are Advanced Practice RNs who provide a wide range of healthcare services across healthcare settings. NPs take health histories and provide complete physical examinations; diagnose and treat many common acute and chronic problems; interpret laboratory results and X-rays; prescribe and manage medications and other therapies; provide health teaching and supportive counseling with an emphasis on prevention of illness and health maintenance; and refer patients to other health professionals as needed. Broad NP specialty areas include: Acute Care, Adult Health, Family Health, Geriatrics, Neonatal, Pediatric, Psychiatric/Mental Health, School Health, and Women’s Health.


Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) practice in a variety of health care environments and participate in mentoring other nurses, case management, research, designing and conducting quality improvement programs, and serving as educators and consultants. Specialty areas include but are not limited to: Adult Health, Community Health, Geriatrics, Home Health, Pediatrics, Psychiatric/Mental Health, School Health and Women’s Health. There are also many sub-specialties.


Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) administer anesthesia and related care before and after surgical, therapeutic, diagnostic and obstetrical procedures, as well as pain management and emergency services, such as airway management. Practice settings include operating rooms, dental offices and outpatient surgical centers. CRNAs deliver more than 65 percent of all anesthetics to patients in the United States.


Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) provide primary care to women, including gynecological exams, family planning advice, prenatal care,



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement