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This paper outlines my development path into being an advanced practice nurse (APN) in the state of Illinois. The plan details the process that begins when I join the school of nursing to acquire my training. The purpose of the plan is to provide a guide that allows for the evaluation of my goals and ensures that they are clear enough (Barginere, Franco, & Wallace, 2013). Setting clear objectives in the professional quest is critical to achieving the desired results. Ensuring that the plan includes all the stages that will take place in the pursuit of growth is essential to help me remain focused on the goal at hand.
APN Scope of Practice
To be an APN in the State of Illinois, one must meet several standards. For a nurse to become an APN, an academic qualification of a Master’s or a Doctorate in nursing and being a registered nurse are necessary. The APN licensure is obtained through The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation; a national certification is required to receive this licensure. To get the national certification, one needs to contact a corresponding national certification agency, depending on the specialty chosen (“Steps to becoming an APN in Illinois”). To retain the APN license, completion of a minimum of fifty hours of continuous professional education yearly is necessary (State of Illinois, Illinois Center for Nursing, n.d.b).
The license of an APN has four different categories based on the clinical expertise of nurses. These categories are nurse practitioners, midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse specialists (State of Illinois, Illinois Center for Nursing, n.d.b). The state of Illinois has strict regulatory requirements for the practice and the environment in which different APNs can work. Nurse practitioners operate in the primary care area. Midwives care for women throughout their lifespan, including gynecological care, pregnancy, and conducting deliveries. Nurse anesthetists supply anesthesia management for patients undergoing surgeries; they are also allowed to provide critical care management. Nurse specialists are nurses who have acquired advanced training in their area of practice and are capable of offering specialized treatment (State of Illinois, Illinois Center for Nursing, n.d.b).
In the state of Illinois, APNs can care for patients in different areas. The nurses are allowed to provide services in licensed hospitals or ambulatory centers. To practice in hospitals, the nurses have to obtain recommendations from the medical staff of the hospitals where they are placed. APNs who work in ambulatory surgical centers require approval of committees that run these centers in order to qualify to provide nursing services. The law also requires that the nurse obtains periodical reviews from the facility to continue working (Barginere et al., 2013).
APNs receive authority to prescribe their patient’s medications and substances based on the recommendations of the committees or of the attending physicians. Despite that, the law allows APNs to offer certain services without seeking the approval of other authorities. While working with other medical professionals, APNs are authorized to order various tests and procedures that are deemed necessary for the treatment processes. Given their training, APNs are legally allowed to provide palliative and end-of-life care for the patients. APNs also can supply clinical guidance and delegate duties to licensed practice nurses as well as other personnel working in the hospital or the medical center (State of Illinois, Illinois Center for Nursing, n.d.b).
To ensure that I achieve my goal of being a certified nurse specialist, I will rely on my strengths and endeavor to improve on my weaknesses. I have a good skill at seeking information related to my areas of interest. This skill also leads to my interaction with other professionals who have already achieved the goals I have set for myself.
On the other hand, I have some weaknesses as well. For instance, I find it difficult to concentrate on a particular goal. It causes me to work on multiple projects at the same time. For example, I can be sidetracked by attempting to earn some money, which consumes much time and hinders studying. So I decided that I will only accept a job in a hospital while being a student. I hope that such work will give me more help than a hindrance in my career.
Another problem I have is organizational; I experience difficulties delegating duties to other people, for I always feel the need to double-check everything myself. I have to improve my ability to trust others with different tasks; this will also better my relationships with the personnel I will be working with. As an APN, I will be required to offer guidance to most of the nurses I will be working with (Grace, 2013, p. 179-180). To fit into the team, I will need to demonstrate that I trust them.
I have a great desire to help people. I look forward to being an APN, for it will put me in a position to make appropriate decisions. It will ensure that I am able to be of even more assistance to my patients to help them achieve better health.
What I am worried about in my future job is that, however hard we try, we will never be able to save all the patients. I think it is always difficult to cope with a grim outcome, but for new medical workers, this is even harder, for they often might blame themselves for being unable to help the patient. So, I must learn to cope with the fact that there exists no panacea, and sometimes there is really no way we can cure people.
I hope that the prospect of becoming an APN will give me a stimulus to work on myself and improve my skills and knowledge. Whatever goals we set, if they are serious, cause us to work on ourselves and endeavor to achieve them. This is already attainment. Besides, when I finally become an APN, I will be able to help people better, which is an accomplishment great enough on its own.
At my job, I will have to cope with excessive stress. For this, I will employ three main general techniques. First, I will set exact preferences and work mainly towards those aims that I perceive as having priority. Second, I will practice time management; I will have to learn to organize my time to be able to fulfill the goals I set, and also to have time to rest. Third, I will have to manage perfectionism. Understanding that it is impossible to always do everything perfectly is crucial. I will have to learn from my mistakes, for this is the most productive way to deal with them. Besides, apart from these three general techniques, it also should be useful to create my own “toolbox of techniques” for more specific situations (Tartakovsky, n.d.).
After achieving a position as an APN, I hope to get accustomed to the new environment in a week or two. Still, I think that getting completely acquainted with all the small aspects of the new job will take more than a week; I hope to cover this issue in a few months. I believe that after the two first months I will already be familiar enough with the job to proceed with my developing plans. In my third month, I hope to apply for membership in various professional organizations and start implementing effective innovations at my work. But now, while I am still a student, I am planning to use the remainder of my first year to define my academic goals more accurately. Having attained basic knowledge, I can now pick a narrower path to follow. This will allow me to eventually be able to see what exactly I want to specialize in and to continue working towards that goal.
Networking and Marketing Strategies
The advanced practice nurses in the State of Illinois are allowed to practice in diverse demographic areas including clinics and hospitals across the entire state. To be able to achieve this level of career growth, it is paramount to complete my current training to be licensed as a registered nurse. The next stage will include getting a master’s degree. Several professional honors and certifications are awarded to APNs in the State of Illinois. Some of the professional honors include recognition from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Other examples of the professional bodies that I can join include the National Association for Practical Nurse Education & Service, Inc., and the Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Education (the State of Illinois, Illinois Center for Nursing, n.d.a).
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When I join these organizations as an APN, I will be able to derive multiple benefits from the membership. For instance, I will be in a position to obtain continuing professional education, which is also critical in ensuring that I retain my practice license as an APN in the State of Illinois. Besides, not only will my network of acquaintances grow but I will also be able to discuss ways to improve medical care with a wider group of professionals. This membership will also put me in a position to obtain continuing professional education (which, as we have already mentioned, is necessary for keeping the APN’s license).
The professional organizations will also offer me more opportunities that are beyond my practice activities at the hospital. Most professional nursing bodies have websites through which their members can access new research information to enhance their practice. They also hold different conferences to discuss various emerging issues in nursing (the State of Illinois, Illinois Center for Nursing, n.d.a). As a member, I will get an opportunity to engage with my colleagues to discuss better ways to resolve these issues and to be able to incorporate the results into our daily practice.
The plan to achieve the APN certification in the State of Illinois requires patience on my part and working on my weaknesses. The State of Illinois requires a person to be a registered nurse, so I have to complete my current program before starting advanced studies in APN. When I eventually become an APN, after getting accustomed to my new position, in my endeavor to network and improve the level of care for our patients, I will choose to join some of the many professional bodies available for me at that time. Joining them will allow me to enjoy numerous benefits, including the ability to attend sessions of continuing education (which is required for keeping the license of an APN), exchange experience and further improve the quality of patient care at my work.
Barginere, C., Franco, S., & Wallace, L. (2013). Succession planning in an academic medical center nursing service. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 37(1), 67-71.
Grace, P. J. (2013). Nursing ethics and professional responsibility in advanced practice (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
The state of Illinois, Illinois Center for Nursing. (n.d.a). Professional Nursing Organizations. Web.
The state of Illinois, Illinois Center for Nursing. (n.d.b). State of Illinois Nurse Practice Act 2007 and State of Illinois Nursing Rules (LPN/RN/APN). Web.
Steps to becoming an APN in Illinois. (2015). Web.
Tartakovsky, M. (n.d.). 10 practical ways to handle stress. Web.