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Advanced Practice Nurses

The Job

Working in clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, and other health care settings, APNs are qualified to handle a wide range of basic health problems. They usually work in association with a physician but, in some cases, independently.

APNs' specific duties are determined by their specialty, and to a certain extent, their precise duties are prescribed by the state in which they practice. APNs are required to be certified in most states and can prescribe medications in most states.

Working within the physician's prescribed guidelines and instructions, the APN interprets and evaluates diagnostic tests to identify the patient's clinical problems and healthcare needs. Then, based on their findings, they record patient data and develop a treatment plan to restore the patient to health. After discussing this plan with the physician and other health professionals, the APN submits the plan and goals for individual patients for periodic review and evaluation. APNs may prescribe drugs or other forms of treatment, such as physical therapy, inhalation therapy, and related treatments when warranted. If warranted, they may refer patients to the supervising physician for consultation and their special expertise in various areas of medical practice.

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