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Advanced practice nurses are typically those nurses prepared at the master's or doctoral level, and they fall into four categories of clinicians: clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse-midwives.
Nurses must have a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent to enroll in a CNS program. To use the title of CNS, the CNS must have a minimum of a master's degree from an education program that prepares CNSs. The training is graduate-level education. Some universities have a fast track program whereby they will accept individuals who do not have a baccalaureate and move them into a master's program. CNSs also take a certification
CNS students go through advanced theory and practice training, revolving around the three areas of influence that impact on direct patient care, supervising direct patient care, and patient care systems.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center certifies CNSs as adult psychiatric, child psychology, community health, home health, gerontology, and medical-surgical CNSs. There also are other certifying bodies, including the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board, Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, and American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification.
The doctoral-level CNS typically focuses on research.
Nurse anesthetists are registered nurses who complete two to three years of higher education, beyond the bachelor's of nursing degree or other appropriate baccalaureate degree. They attend accredited nurse anesthesia educations programs, covering all areas of anesthesia. After completing an accredited program, nurse anesthetists must pass a national certification exam to obtain the CRNA designation.
The education for a nurse anesthetist involves about 24 to 36 months of graduate course work. It includes classroom and clinical experience.
In most cases, to be accepted into an accredited school, those who aspire to become nurse anesthetists must have an appropriate four-year degree, an RN license, and at least one year of acute care nursing experience, which varies by program.
Author Info: Lisette Hilton, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health, 2002
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