Advanced practice nurses (APNs) are increasingly being utilized at hospitals across the country from rural critical access facilities to large academic medical centers to assist medical professionals and perform patient care. They currently function within most major service lines of the healthcare facility, yet with their expanding role, a clear leadership structure is often lacking.
To better understand the function of APNs, this edition of Off the Shelf looks at the role, responsibilities, and reporting structure to ensure your organization is utilizing its resources efficiently to meet bottom-line results. (Email us your tips if you'd like to share them with other readers)
We will look at:
The Role of APNs
For long-term success in your organization, Advanced Practice Nurses must gain support from Administration as APNs are the frontrunners in building and sustaining nursing practice. They offer clinical leadership and utilize their abilities and skills to encourage clinical strategic decision making.
APNs provide continuity of patient care, consistent physician support and expert knowledge, and can assist with teaching services where residents rotate monthly/bimonthly. In this regard, APNs must establish strong clinical relationships with collaborating physicians, residents/fellows, and clinical staff.
For more information check out The Essence of Advanced Nursing Practice and Constraints to Role Fulfillment.
Leadership Implications of APN Expansion
APN leadership should be responsible for monitoring APN continued education requirements and documentation needs for meeting regulatory compliance.
For larger facilities, including teaching organizations, it is ideal to standardize the APN leadership and reporting structure. It should be centralized under one nurse administrator with APN certification. For other facilities, keeping in mind that an APN leader is still needed at the manager or director level, a clear reporting structure through nursing or the medical staff with input from both is needed.
Once the structure is secured, communication operations and channels can then be directed from APN leadership to service line administrators/leaders, physicians and department/unit nurse director/managers to ensure the smooth flow of information. Typical responsibilities for APN leadership include:
- Overseeing of the credentialing timeline
- Managing of the APN on-boarding/orientation process for newly hired APNs
- Monitoring/coordinating the re-credentialing process, which includes quality measurements, peer review, support documentation, etc.
- Supervising and directing APN productivity and revenue capture
- Structuring of APN schedules to ensure coverage
- Oversee development of APN staff:
- Meeting performance expectations within service lines/specialty
- Performance evaluations
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