Registered nursing is the largest employment sector of the health care industry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). All registered nurses are involved in treating and educating patients while providing advice and emotional support to families and caregivers. Nurses with advanced education and training may advance their careers by becoming advanced practice nurses.
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A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who blends primary care and speciality care services, according to the BLS. Nurse practitioners may specialise in family practice, paediatrics, neonatal, women's health or a wide variety of other specialities. Qualifications to become a nurse practitioner include holding an unrestricted registered nurse license and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Once all educational requirements are met the candidate may sit for the appropriate state licensing examination. Many nurse practitioners choose to become credentialed by a national certifying organisations such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
A clinical nurse specialist is an advanced practice nurse that is an expert in a specialised nursing practice field as defined by a population, medical setting, medical sub-speciality or type of care, according to the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. In order to qualify as a clinical nurse specialist the candidate must be a licensed registered nurse. She must have a Master's degree or Doctorate in nursing with a focus in clinical nurse specialist studies. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers credentialing for clinical nurse specialists in a variety of areas. Other credentialing organisations that may provide area specific certification include the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation and the Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board.
A nurse anaesthetist is an advanced practice nurse who provides anaesthesia care to patients undergoing certain surgical, therapeutic and obstetric procedures, according to the BLS. Qualifications to become a nurse anaesthetist include a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN), a current registered nurse license, a minimum of one year acute care nursing experience and successful completion of an accredited graduate level nurse anaesthesia program, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). The AANA estimates a minimum of seven years of education and experience are required to become a nurse anaesthetist.
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