Preparing for Registered Nursing

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RNs are prepared in three forms of education programs: baccalaureate programs (generally four years), associate degree programs (generally three years), and hospital diploma programs without formal higher education credit (generally three years).2 RNs provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members. The professional nurse licensing exam is the same for graduates of these three types of RN programs.3 A different licensing exam is administered to LPNs. APNs are RNs with specialties in Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, and Clinical Nurse Specialists.8 The APN licensure process is usually more complicated than for LPN or RN licenses. Most states require an applicant to have a current RN license to be eligible to apply for an APN license. Every state board requires APN applicants to first complete a master’s or doctor of nursing practice program at a four-year accredited university. Finally, applicants for an APN license must also earn an advanced certification in their field of specialization and complete a specified number of clinical practice hours before they are eligible to receive their license. The scope of practice for APNs varies from state to state; nonetheless, most states permit APNs to provide and coordinate patient care, and some states permit the provision of primary and specialty health care.3 The politics of nursing regulation The politics of nursing have been characterized by low collaboration, strong opposition, and women’s rights. As aforementioned, regulations vary between states, which signals lack of national leadership and cohesion. The industry has also st... ... middle of paper ... ...s in economics by Milton Friedman and Reuben Kessel have contended that regulation in a professional field lead to barriers to entry erected for the advantage of those practicing in the field.4,15,16 Other researchers and analysts have countered that regulations may be necessary to establish and maintain quality.17–19 The deliberation surrounding who truly benefits from regulation is enduring, but physicians have been in the spotlight of the debate while nurse regulation has received less attention. The arguments provided in the physician discussion can be applied to the nursing field, but unique aspects of nursing should be taken into account; namely, that nurse functions may have historically and presently been undervalued due to the female dominance in the field, and that nurses may be undereducated and less united relative to other medical care professionals.

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