image of nurse practitioner with a child

Meet the Staff: What is an Advanced Practice Nurse?

Whether your child comes to the hospital for an extended stay, a same-day specialty visit or a well visit, you will meet many health care professionals along your journey. These health care professionals have different acronyms, or credentials, associated with their names such as MD, DO, PA, NP or RN.

Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), is one of these credentials. In addition to the titles listed below, you may even hear us introduce ourselves as Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) or Nurse Practitioners (NPs). As APRNs and fellow parents, we know these credentials can be overwhelming. You may wonder what the titles mean and what role each person plays in your child’s care.

We want to share what an APRN is and what to expect when an advanced practice registered nurse is part of your child’s care team.

What is an advanced practice registered nurse?

  • An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a registered nurse who received an advanced degree, such as a Master’s degree or Doctorate in Nursing.
  • APRNs have additional certifications so they can provide specialized care or services. Some of these titles include:
    • Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)
    • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
    • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
    • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

How do APRNs work with physicians?

Although they are not physicians, APRNs are very knowledgeable, skilled and use evidence-based practice to ensure children receive the highest standard of care. Many APRNs, such as nurse practitioners, are able to prescribe medications.

APRNs may work independently in some states, while other states, including Ohio, require a physician to be available for collaboration. APRNs may care for patients throughout the hospital and in outpatient clinics. Many are also involved in research and administration.

Will my child see an APRN?

We work in all settings, so it is very likely your child may be treated by an APRN. Whether your child sees an APRN alone or in partnership with a physician, you can be sure that your child is being treated with the same high standard of care.

You may hear titles such as Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Midwife. These titles refer to specific areas of expertise, from Neonatology and Pediatrics to Family Practice and Anesthesiology.

No matter what the title, we all work together as a team to ensure that your child receives the best care possible. APRNs and physicians share the goal of providing the best care for our patients.

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The AHP Council is comprised of APNs and PAs that represent various areas within Nationwide Children's Hospital. We are part of the Shared Governance Council, representing nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The group’s main function is to provide oversight and review of policies and standards that affect nurse practitioners (APRN) and physician assistants (PA). We also provide continuing professional development for APRNs and PAs.

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