The history and evolution of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) role, particularly the Nurse Practitioner (NP), can easily be compared to the process of self-actualization. According to Webster’s dictionary (2015), to self-actualize means “to fully realize one’s potential.” Through the collaboration of many great minds and the practice of holism as the best approach for providing healthcare, the role of the APRN arose. Nursing leaders and advocates such as Thelma Ingles and Loretta Ford knew the potential and remarkable impact the APRN would have on the healthcare system and had the motivation and vision to set it in motion. The role of the NP emerged out of necessity and advanced educationally and clinically as the scope of practice expanded over the latter half of the twentieth century in the United States. Through education, the general population can understand the tremendous impact and full potential of the role of the NP as healthcare reform allows increased access to healthcare (Joel, 2013).
Evolution of the Role of the Nurse Practitioner
According to Joel (2013), the formal role of the NP arose in the mid twentieth century as a result of political and societal issues such as the increase of individuals able to receive healthcare services through Medicare and Medicaid entitlement programs. It is noted that these practices of the NP role were around nearly a century before the role was established in the United States and received legal recognition (Joel, 2013). In the 1960’s, a nurse pioneer, Loretta Ford, was a Registered Nurse (RN) with primary responsibilities within the pediatric population (Joel, 2013, Sullivan-Marx, 2010). Ford’s collabora...
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...N. The role of the APRN has allowed more opportunities for the general population to access competent, caring healthcare where location or socioeconomic status may have impeded otherwise. As the ICN and various regulatory agencies continue to strive for excellence and consistency in practice, the APRN will continue to make a marked impact on the world. The APRN impacts patients and families by applying critical thinking and application of knowledge to provide accurate diagnoses, utilizing evidence based practice interventions for treatment within the plan of care most suitable for the patient, and providing education to enhance health and wellbeing. Loretta Ford and all the masterminds behind the vision of the APRN knew the role’s potential. They pieced together the strengths of nursing and the power of knowledge, which resulted as an undeniable imprint on society.
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