Advanced Practice Registered Nurses Increase Medical Care Options

​ As patients continue to seek fast and affordable healthcare, the demand for advanced practice registered nurses has increased.  

Q:   What is an advanced practice registered nurse?
A:   An advanced practice registered nurse can be a certified registered nurse practitioner, a certified nurse midwife, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, or a clinical nurse specialist. Ohio mandates that professional titles are restricted to individuals who have achieved specific requirements. An advanced practice registered nurse must earn a master’s or doctoral degree, pass a national certification exam, fulfill internship (600 hours) and externship training (1500 hours) and complete extensive continuing education requirements.   

Q:   What is an advanced practice registered nurse allowed to do?
A:   An advanced practice registered nurse can diagnose illness, order tests and dispense, administer and prescribe medications.  

Q:   What is the difference between a registered nurse and a certified registered nurse practitioner?
A:   All certified registered nurse practitioners are registered nurses, but not all registered nurses are certified practitioners. A certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) may provide advanced practice services within his or her area of specialty, such as emergency care or pediatric care. A CRNP may provide preventive and primary care services and evaluate and promote ptient wellness. For example, a CRNP may prescribe medications, perform diagnostic procedures, interpret laboratory and diagnostic reports and perform intensive patient histories and physical examinations. CRNPs serve as case managers and patient advocates, and they work with other health care professionals. 

Q:   Can certified nurse midwives deliver babies?
A:   Generally, yes, in collaboration with one or more physicians. The certified nurse midwife focuses particularly on low-risk pregnancies, wellness and prevention, family planning and women’s gynecological needs. Although nurse-midwifery care is primarily intended for healthy women, a certified nurse midwife can continue to provide care even when women experience medical, gynecological, and/or obstetrical complications.  

Q:   What are certified registered nurse anesthetists?
A:   With the supervision and in the immediate presence of a physician, podiatrist or dentist, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) administer every type of anesthetic and practice wherever anesthesia is delivered. They work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists and other qualified healthcare professionals. Ohio law requires physician supervision of CRNAs, although most states do not. 

Q:   What does a clinical nurse specialist do?
A:   In collaboration with one or more physicians or podiatrists, a clinical nurse specialist provides direct nursing care to individuals, families, and groups, manages complex problems, and may intervene to manage and improve patient care according to standards established by the profession. A clinical nurse specialist must be certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and must demonstrate an in-depth understanding of complex medical and surgical problems. 


This "Law You Can Use" consumer legal information column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was prepared by attorney Phillip T. Glyptis of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC.

Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. This article is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney.



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