Advanced Practice Role
Nursing is defined as a profession that is based on evidence and theory. For several years, nursing has been interpreted as direct care for individuals. Even though it is still the truth, the profession has progressed, and direct care is not sufficient. Presently, nurses can stand tall in their several roles as educators, informacists, practitioners, and administrators. There are similarities and differences between the mentioned nursing professions.
The requirement for nurse practitioners and nurse educators is that they should have a master’s degree. Most nurses in the mentioned categories have doctorates. For nurse educators, a doctorate is a mandatory requirement, particularly for higher positions, for example, acting as dean of nursing. However, basic education in nursing for nurse educators and nurse practitioners are identical with an emphasis on different themes such as direct patient care, anatomy, pharmacology, and physiology. Additionally, nurse practitioners obtain advanced education not only in medical management and diagnosis but also in drug therapy, injury, and disease. On the other hand, nurse educators study education techniques, nursing theory and participate in research interpretation (Daly, Speedy & Jackson, 2014).
A nurse practitioner is an expertise in the patient management and performs different physician tasks. She/he physically examines the patient and has the authority to order and interpret diagnostic examinations such as x-rays and lab works. Nurse practitioners can also prescribe medications for the patients (Florida Board of Nursing, 2016). Similarly, they specialize in different age groups such as elders or children or different areas of medicine, for example cardiovascular.
On the other hand, nurse educators are responsible for teaching nursing students. They might work in diploma, associate degree, and baccalaureate programs in preparing students for admission to university courses, which offer doctorate or masters programs for advanced nursing practice. Some nurse educators remain generalists who only teach the basic nursing subjects, and just like their nurse practitioners, they have the option of specializing in areas such as mental health or neonatal care. These nurses work on part time basis with the objective of retaining clinical skills (Daly, Speedy & Jackson, 2014).
The nurse administrator focuses on the management of the healthcare sector. Nurse administrator not only articulates but also develops a vision for the entire nursing practice within the complex delivery system (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, 2012). He/she also adapts management skills in the field to facilitate collaborative and healthy relationships. The mentioned includes the use and selection of advanced communication skills, analytics and problem-solving skills in the healthcare field. The roles are within the management sector. They entail decision making, which enhances efficient and effectiveness of available nursing resources (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, 2012).
Informaticist is a field within nursing that deals with record keeping and information flow. Nurse Informatics is also responsible for making decisions regarding nurses, patients, and entire healthcare professionals in all settings and roles. The help is obtained via information technology, structures, or processes (Daly, Speedy & Jackson, 2014). Informatics nurses encompass individuals with extensive clinical practice and have skills in applying various nursing processes. Besides, they have extra education and experience with modern technology. The informatics nurses participate in not only the selection evaluation but also in the determination of end-user requirements and functionality customizations. Additionally, they play a significant role in designing and delivering training to nurses and other medical personnel.
Family Nurse Practitioner
Leaders are described as equipped with different strategies and visions. They also have the desire and a plan to direct their services and teams to achieve a future goal. Family nurse practitioners are required to not only have problem-solving skills but also development of group identification and effectiveness. They should be passionate, dynamic and possess motivational influence on the team members. The nurses should inspire others and be focused on finding solutions within the nursing practice, and as a family nurse practitioner, I possess the mentioned leadership attributes.
I am a good decision maker, resilient, and capable of resolving conflicts and delegating duties. Leadership for the nurse practitioners is about delegating, making decisions, acting with integrity and resolving conflicts. The nurses should also show resilience in not only responding to change but also supporting the other members in embracing it in a positive manner (Patterson & Haddad, 2013). Nurses should also be in a position to reframe the thinking of their followers so that they can see achievable and imperative changes. According to Kelly (2012), nurse practitioners should find ways of being involved in the decision-making skills on the key issues that affect the decision-making skills in the organization such as workforce planning, policy development and corporate and clinical governance. Patterson and Haddad (2013) advocate that nurse practitioners should be constructive so that other team members accept them.
It is important for the family nurse practitioners to apply the mentioned attributes within their practice to win the trust and respect of team members and spearhead the clinical practice development. Nurses with effective leadership attributes are in a position to influence the development of other medical staff, enabling growth of the competent nurse practitioners and maintenance of the professional standards. According to Patterson and Haddad (2013), leaders are the major driving forces within the organization. They are portrayed as role models and source of inspiration for other nurses. However, I do not have all the leadership attributes that are essential for a practitioner nurse.
The leadership attribute that I lack as a nurse practitioner is a mentorship. According to Daly, Speedy & Jackson (2014), individuals are motivated in several ways. Therefore, it is important for leaders to use strategies that would motivate people and empower them as well as highlight the significance of nursing role within the health sector. One of the methods that I aim to achieve this attribute is through structured mentorship. This is because I believe that mentorship should focus on continuous role development, which is based not only in an acquisition but also mastery of new skills. Kelly (2012) emphasizes the importance of advanced nurses taking a minimum of 20 minutes of their work shift to be involved in mentoring activities. To realize the attribute, I will adapt a learning log. Learning log is defined as a task specific method that proves that mentorship has occurred in a given area.
Nurse practitioners should have a variety of leadership attributes for a successful practice. Nurse practitioners are considered pioneers. This is because they pave the way for their patients and colleagues (Patterson & Haddad, 2013). Therefore, nurse practitioners should show servant leadership so that they can work collaboratively both with patients and colleagues at workplace.
Many nurse leaders have embraced servant leadership. Servant leadership assists followers to establish trust because they believe that the leaders are concerned about their welfare. Servant leadership is also important because it provides nurse practitioners with a vision in their field of practice. For example, it assists in minimizing the gap between the nurses and the patients, hence make it easier for family practitioner nurses to understand the patient’s medical history. A nurse practitioner who adapts servant leadership focuses on the staffs’ needs and seeks their opinions on how he/she can solve their problems and enhance their personal development. Practicing this form of leadership assists family nurse practitioner to meet the patients’ needs while at the same time coaching other team members about professional practice. Drawing from Daly, Speedy & Jackson (2014) servant leadership offers a set of skills, which can impact positively on the quality of nurse satisfaction and care for the patients.
Change is important in the nursing practice because it contributes to new methods and ways of practice. Nurse practitioners should act as agents of change, and family nurse practitioners should not be an exception. They should be in the position to solve the conflict and tackle resistance forces in their practice field. Consequently, they should critical thinkers and creative in handling patients concerns and other medical issues. Citing Patterson & Haddad (2013), the mentioned skills are also significant in not only clinical research but also practice evaluation and development. The nurses should effectively apply obtained knowledge into practice to advocate for patients’ rights and their own rights. They are the agents of the management change; hence they should play a role in development initiatives and policy changes.
In Florida states, an advanced nurse practitioner is any nurse licensed by the state and is certified in specialized or advanced nursing practices including nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives. Citing the Florida Administrative Code, advanced nurse practitioners should only perform medical operations such as treatment and diagnosis in accordance with the protocol between a Florida licensed dentist, physician, medical doctor and ARNP (Florida Board of Nursing, 2016).
For one to be certified as a specialist nurse, he/she should submit updated practice license when applying to work in a given department. A practitioner nurse should also have a master’s degree in the specialty field. Additionally, to practice as a nurse practitioner, one must proof that he/she has updated professional license. The nurse should obtain necessary certification from the relevant bodies and should have graduated with a program leading to enrolment to a master’s degree in their area of specialty (Florida Board of Nursing, 2016).
Among the most popular professional nursing bodies include:
To practice as a family nurse practitioner, I should have different certifications. One is required to become a registered nurse and pass the NCLEX-RN examination. To practice, a family nurse practitioner should apply to FNP programs but only those that are Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredited. One should also take an exam by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This will enable me to apply for certification in the state I wish to practice in. Finally, I should have a certification from Family Nurse Practitioner—Board Certified (Zerwekh, 2017).
I plan to work with the American Obesity Association. The organization addresses childhood obesity and overweight. The organization believes that obesity is a disease. It is a not-for-profit organization with renowned researchers in the obesity field. The organization has 2,000 clinical and basic researchers. The organization works with minority groups and communities that are characterized by different socioeconomic factors. It has its headquarters in Washington.
This is because being a family nurse practitioner would assist in eliminating various disparities related to race, gender, and socio-economic class. Citing Patterson & Haddad (2013), a nurse practitioner has the responsibility of handling health disparities particular among the minority groups. Therefore, taking into account the diverse family issues, which pertain to social status and socio-economic class, the nurse practitioner, has the responsibility of raising awareness of how the factors impact on the health status of both individuals and the entire community. Additionally, family nurse practitioners can understand the effects of gender on access to primary health care, health issues, and health status.
It is impossible to treat patients suffering from drug abuse and addiction without taking into consideration not only their family background but also the present family situations. According to Kelly (2013) family, nurse practitioners programs define family as the major context of care for the individual patients. Therefore, the patients should be treated as part of the whole family system. This is because the family system impacts on the individual’s life choices that can influence health. Physical and mental health relies on the family system. In treating the patients suffering obesity, cultural sensitivity and emotional intelligence are significant in treating the patients. The family nurse practitioner is well trained in cultural sensitivity and competence. It would be significant for the nurse to involve family members of the patient in the entire decision-making process.
Most families lack access healthy and natural foods for their children. Lack of physical exercise remains a leading factor to children’s obesity. Availability of sugary drinks and junk foods has made children to consume unhealthy diet make children not only overweight but also obese.
Health Policy and the Advanced Practice Role
Childhood obesity is of policy concern because it impacts negatively on the lives of children and minimizes their future potentials. Studies have also proven that obese children are at high risk of developing psychological and medical related issues such as sleep apnea, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, social isolation, depression and gastrointestinal problems. Further citing Staniford, Breckon & Copeland (2012), adulthood obesity is linked to increased morbidity and mortality so early interventions remain imperative. Family nurse practitioners are advocates of heath of children and should spearhead prevention of obesity. Research shows that overweight does not include all children who are obese. Similarly, not all overweight infants have obesity (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016). Therefore, there is a high possibility of the disease persisting throughout one’s lifespan from childhood to adulthood. Some of the factors contributing to childhood obesity are prenatal factors, poverty, fast foods, parental obesity and lack of necessary education on natural and healthy eating.
Consequently, childhood obesity or adulthood obesity poses a major risk factor for diabetes. In children, diabetes can lead to devastating effects, and it is one of the major causes of health problems (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016). Diabetes can cause stroke, blindness, hypertension, kidney problems, and amputations. Reduction of children’s weight remains the best strategy to avoid the mentioned health issues. Additionally, psychological problems like suicide, social bullying, and poor body image have also been associated with childhood obesity. The psychological and physical impact that overweight has on children’s health state demands for the intervention of the healthcare providers immediately obesity is detected in an infant. The mentioned makes obesity and overweight a matter of policy concern in the health sector.
The literature review indicates that childhood obesity is a policy concern because it contributes to other detrimental health issues in the society.
The Process of Changing the Healthy Policy
Addressing several socioeconomic factors including education and poverty pose great effect on the health of the population, there is a need for societal change for interventions to change the present socioeconomic situation. However, the inclusion of areas other than public health, in particular, education, agriculture, and transport would be significant to long-term prosperity. Adjustments in the physical and social environment, which make individuals default selections for healthy foods have a potential effect (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016). Family nurse practitioners in collaboration with public health personnel can implement the mentioned interventions in coordination with non-governmental organizations or the government. Additionally, changing the food environment can enhance nutrition and minimize childhood obesity via three processes: shifting people’s exposure to food, altering the healthy food images and changing food prices. In addition to food prices, obesity is due to eating wrong foods and consuming too much food (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016). Consuming beverages and food high in energy and low in nutritional value such as fat and sugar can result in obesity and overweight.
Policies can effectively alter the context and make physical activities safer, easier and more attractive. Individuals between six and 19 years should have at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activities daily. Nonetheless, approximately 75% of the population fail to exercise daily (Zaccagnini & White, 2014). Additional efforts are also required for the implementation of different changes, which support regular physical activities and healthy eating, especially among minority populations and underserved communities. The lessons and experiences from places with progress can assist other communities not only to identify but also pursue both environmental and policy approaches. Establishing an inclusive culture based health program, whereby every an individual has an opportunity to live a healthy life will assist to eliminate new cases of obese and overweight among children and effectively address the existing ones (Zaccagnini & White, 2014).
As a family nurse practitioner, I will lead the process of the policy change by adopting community-based intervention programs. Studies on children show that they spend most of their free time at home or school. Therefore, it is recommendable to examine obesity intervention programs, which are community-based. Staniford, Breckon & Copeland (2012) studied community-based intervention in preventing childhood obesity. The researcher reported that community-based interventions are important in reducing infant obesity. There is new evidence on how to control childhood obesity. According to Gollust, Niederdeppe & Barry (2013), prevention of childhood obesity would require both policy and contextual changes. Comprehensive approaches with diverse sectors as well as relevant stakeholder groups are significant in tackling the epidemic.
Government at local and state levels, with public health agencies being in control should take necessary measures and action. Schools, health sectors and various organizations in the community have important roles to play. Businesses should consider improving the quality of food they offer. Besides, they should encourage parents or guardians to adopt healthy eating at home. Additionally, with food industries, they should actively participate in finding creative solutions to reducing obesity prevalence among children. Parents are the major implementers within households, and they have a significant role in improving the quality of services provided in the entire health care system.
In conclusion, if the above health policy is implemented, there is a possibility of the quality healthcare changing. If the primary care providers address and promote basic education on the importance of healthy lifestyle, then childhood obesity is likely to be tackled. Healthy eating habits such as consuming more servings of vegetables a day, exercising daily and reducing uptake of sugary beverages can improve the quality of health across all populations and reduces cases of obesity and other health related cases such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among others.
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Florida Board of Nursing. (2016). Important Legislative Update regarding HB 423. Retrieved from http://floridasnursing.gov/latest-news/new-legislation-impacting-your-profession/ on February 22, 2017.
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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2016). Declining childhood obesity rates. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2016/06/declining-childhood-obesity-rates.html
Staniford, L. J., Breckon, J. D., & Copeland, R. J. (2012). Treatment of childhood obesity: a systematic review. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(4), 545-564.
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