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Physicians naturally have the most authority over patient care and in the traditional relationship between physicians and RNs, physicians directly control and must specifically authorize the clinical responsibilities of nurses. Advanced Practice Nurses enjoy a greater degree of autonomy and make certain independent decisions within a broader range of authority granted by physicians. Individual state laws define more particularly the exact functions that APRNs are authorized to perform (NCBON, 2011). Physician assistants and Nurse Practitioners perform specific clinical medical functions traditionally reserved exclusively to physicians such as prescribing medications and performing minor medical procedures (Hamric, Spross, & Hanson, 2009).
Promoting Advanced Practice Nursing to the Public
In many cases, patients are completely unaware of the distinctions between Nurses, Advanced Practice Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants. Advanced practice nursing professionals can help publicize and promote a better public understanding by communicating directly with patients in their clinical capacities and by introducing themselves by their proper titles. They may also make the effort to explain to patients receiving advanced clinical nursing care exactly why their nurse is treating them in connection with providing details about the extent of their training and qualifications. Since APRNs are also typically involved in public health promotions, they should also take advantage of those opportunities to educate patients and other members of the public about their roles, qualifications, and responsibilities.