Nursing Practitioner Career Trajectory

Nursing Practitioner Career Trajectory
For this paper, you will develop your plan to become a NP. First, take time to examine the
roles of the advanced practice nurse within the context of the United States healthcare
delivery system.
Identify your preferred areas of practice (clinical settings) and necessary steps to reach this
goal (including acquiring licensure, certification, DEA numbers, etc.).
Identify who you will draw upon for professional support.
Further, identify areas of involvement, such as research, policy, etc., that you would like to
be involved in and create your plan for lifelong learning and professional development.

Nursing Practitioner Career Trajectory

Introduction
One area of the socio-economic landscape of the United States that has changed dramatically
over the past 50 years is healthcare. Improvements in technology, changes in population,
advancements in science and also policy development among others have had a direct impact on
how healthcare services are delivered to the general population across the country. While
physicians continue to be seen as the key decision makers in this sector of the economy, the
impact that nurses have had throughout this period cannot be overlooked. The sheer amount of
contact hours that nurses have with patients means that their role has also evolved over the years
(ANA, 2014).

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner
The term nurse is often associated with the act of a person of the female gender taking care of an
ill individual. This is because the origins of nursing as a profession lie in women taking up the
position in the formative years of healthcare due to their perceived nurturing nature. This meant
that there was little training if any on standardized practices to be adhered to by nurses. This
however changed in the middle of the 20 th Century in the United States when it was realized the a
swelling national population would demand a more structured form of service delivery by nurses.
This led to the formulation and development of academic programs that would be used to
compliment and improve the work of nurses (RNDegrees, 2011).
Over the past half century these academic programs have diversified and led to the development
of positions such as Nursing Practitioner and also Advanced Practice Nurses. In this exercise the
dynamics surrounding this position will be illustrated as I elaborate on my desired career
trajectory in this profession.

My Preferred Areas of Practice

As stated above, the duties of Advanced Practice Nurses have a scope that spans across the entire
healthcare sector. For one to practice however it is important that he or she specialize in one of
these areas. Personally I would like to pursue the areas of Geriatric care as well as Palliative
care. While the two are different areas of specialization, they are closely related given the fact
that they are both primarily aimed at the more elderly patients who have relatively similar
healthcare needs.
Geriatric healthcare encompasses the provision of healthcare-related services to individuals
whose health is compromised by the natural process of ageing. Unlike conventional healthcare

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner
which aims to cure diseases, geriatric care is more of a continuous process given that ageing is
not a reversible process. It therefore entails the treatment of a number of terminal illnesses as
well as other healthcare complications that come from ageing. These include the inability of
some patients to take adequate care of themselves. Demand for geriatric care is only set to
increase in the near future as a result of improved healthcare which gives individuals a chance to
live longer than they do today; an increase in the life-expectancy. The elderly are often plagued
by a host of mental problems such as dementia, reduced immunity and also severely limited
mobility.
Palliative care on the other hand is the delivery of healthcare services to individuals who are
perceived to be nearing the end of their lives due to the diagnosis or advancement of a terminal
illness. These include cancer, cardio-vascular ailments and also select respiratory conditions. It
seeks to improve the life of the patient as well as his or her family who have to psychologically
take in the fact that their loved one has a relatively short time to live. It mainly involves the
management of pain. A large number of the consumers of this healthcare service also happen to
be the elderly in society. This is the reason why I would like to pursue a nursing career in this
area in the future. Such a career path will enable me to work in a hospice or home for the elderly
in a practical as well as administrative position.
The Steps Necessary for Pursuing Geriatric and Palliative Care Nursing Careers
For an individual to become an advanced practice nurse who is specialized in the provision of
Geriatric healthcare services it is imperative that he or she acquire the right mix of academic
credentials, practical experience and also official accreditation through licensing. The manner in
which these are acquired needs to be in tandem with the set of standards that have been set

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner
within the country an individual wishes to practice this form of nursing. In the United States, an
APRN who is specialized in nursing needs to have undertaken undergraduate education in
nursing, attained a degree then combined it with post graduate certification in the area of
geriatrics (ANCC, 2014). At the same time it is necessary for this individual to have a license for
him or her to practice as a nurse.
At graduate level the individual needs to undertake an undergraduate degree course that all
nurses have to undertake. This will provide him or her with industry knowledge, best-practices,
theoretical information and also practical skills that are required of nurses. There is little or no
specialization in careers for those undertaking nursing at an undergraduate level. The most that
one can specialize in is adult-gerontology which is basically the study of how nursing is relevant
to individuals who are in their early stages of ageing as well as those in the more advanced
stages. This means there is a wide scope with regard to the ages considered (RNDegrees, 2011).
For one who is interested in practicing geriatric healthcare at an Advanced Practice Nurse Level
it is essential that he or she participate in a program that provides adequate clinical as well as
didactic experience for the students. This means that from an early stage the prospective APRN
has a higher skill and knowledge level than the conventional nurse. The graduate education of an
APRN not only prepares him or her for the technical dynamics of the healthcare sector. These
nurses also get to be prepared emotionally and psychologically for a higher level of
accountability and emotional preparedness for the increased level of responsibility. These
undergraduate programs take three to four years to complete (Niagra College Canada, 2014).
Post Graduate Degree in Geriatric Nursing

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner
Following the graduation from an undergraduate program it is also important that the prospective
APRN undertakes a Master’s Degree program. This provides the nurse with administrative skills
as well as more specialized education on how to resolve health problems of the elderly through
advanced nursing. The programs take between two and three years. They are more oriented
towards problem-solving than the undergraduate degrees. The title of the specific courses varies
greatly from university to university. It may therefore have a prefix of Masters of Science.. or
other similar titles.
Certification
In addition to the acquisition of academic credentials, it is necessary for APRNs to have a
certificate that has been issued by the American Nurses’ Credentialling Center, ANCC. This
allows the individual to work as a nurse practitioner. The certificate awarded is highly course
specific. One also requires a certificate in one of the areas of Geriatric Nursing. There are
different sub-sections of geriatric nursing and these include health promotion, emerging issues,
the management of chronic health challenges and also the theories that scholars have formulated
in relation to Nursing. It is also important to note that some institutions of learning will insist on
a set of academic credits coupled with a number of clinical practice hours before allowing an
individual to enroll in their post-graduate nursing programs. An exam set by the Nursing board
needs to be passed prior to the issuance of this certificate (AACN, 2014).
One also needs to have a Nursing Practitioner’s license and this is awarded following an
application for the same in the specific region, state or territory he or she would like to work in
as a nurse (RNAO, 2014).
Professional Support

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner
For professional support I will have to rely on a mentor who is more advanced than myself in
terms of experience, exposure and possibly academically in the area of Geriatric Nursing. This
will most likely be a professor or an individual who plays a supervisory role in the healthcare
institution that I will be attached to. This will help me in consultations about the challenges I face
on a day to day basis in clinical practice as well as personal development in the field. I will also
register as a member of the local APRN nurses association. Here I will have a lot of peer to peer
interactions and networking. Having a formal membership in the association will also enable me
to benefit from collective bargaining that may arise from time to time in the course of my work.
Further professional support will be drawn from my former colleagues who studied with me
during the undergraduate and post graduate nursing programs. This will mainly be in the form of
comparing notes with them as we exchange our unique experiences.
Areas I would like to be involved in in the future

In a bid to ensure that my career involves life-long learning and professional development I
would like to be involved in policy development, research and also ethics. These areas have been
singled out because of their relatively high potential with respect to the objectives I have.
Policy development stands out because it is an ever-continuous process that goes hand in hand
with the work of APRNs. The past half century has seen changes to policy with an effort to
ensure nurses have a much larger impact in improving healthcare for the swelling population of
the country. Through legislation nursing has become more of a profession due to the introduction
of academic programs which led to the standardization of the practices. The legal framework
governing the work of Nursing Practitioners in Geriatric Clinics as well as those in hospices is
constantly undergoing transformation subjective to the different territories and the most pressing

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner
issues that arise (Discover Nursing, 2014). As such it is important for individuals with ground
knowledge on the dynamics of nursing to be involved in the formulation of these laws. Projected
changes in the cultural as well as economic landscape of the country has profound implications
for the nursing practitioner profession.
Ethics in nursing mainly involves the pursuit of systems, procedures and clinical environments
that will ensure the greatest good and this basically means improvements on the well-being of
patients. As medical technology and scientific knowledge increase over time, approaches used in
the tendering of healthcare services to elderly patients also changes. These changes however
need to be constantly evaluated with the mind of prioritizing the healthcare needs of the patient
among other needs that may arise such as the comfort of healthcare workers or financial
objectives of private clinics. This too is another area that I would like to pursue.
I may also be interested in the area of Research and Development of new techniques of
healthcare delivery to Geriatric patients. This involves a lot of study, bench-marking and also
comparison. Wide travel too may be a component of this aspect of healthcare. As such it
promises to not just add to my knowledge but also help me develop professionally (Hamric et al,
2000).

Conclusion

From the above it is evident that the path to being an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse is long
and demanding. This is occasioned by the ever changing healthcare landscape and the emergence
of needs that were relatively isolated in the past. The advancements in healthcare and quality of
life are leading to larger populations of the elderly. This motivates me to want to be an advanced

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner
practice nurse who has specialized in Geriatric healthcare. I therefore have to commit to a rigid
academic schedule as well as practical experience if I am to succeed in this endeavor.

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner

References
AACN Certification Corporation. (2014) The New APRN Regulatory Model: Defining the
Future of Advanced Practice Nursing.
American Nurses Association, ANA (2014) Advanced Practice Nurses.
American Nurses Credentialing Center, ANCC (2014) Consensus Model for APRN Regulation.
Discover Nursing (2014) Hospice Nurse, How You’ll get there.

Hamric, A. B., Spross, J. A., & Hanson, C. M. (2000). Advanced nursing practice: An
integrative approach. WB Saunders Co.
Niagra College Canada (2014) Palliative Care- Multi Discipline.
CareMultidisciplineInternational.aspx on 18th January, 2014
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, RNAO (2014) Careers in Nurisng- A world of
Opportunities.

Nursing Practitioner Career Practitioner
RNDegrees. Net (2006-2011) Why become a nurse practitioner?NHS Career Planner for Nurses
(United Kingdom resources, but wonderful, again, for stimulating ideas!)

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