APRN Roles History Essay

APRN Roles History Essay

The development of each advanced practice registered nursing role has progressed significantly over time. Discuss the historical and developmental aspects of the RNP, CNM, CRNA, and CNS roles. Provide a general description of the roles and responsibilities of each type of APRN in today’s healthcare system. Compare the credibility of the early role to the role at this time.

Historical Development of Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) Roles and their Current Status


The four recognised APRN roles are the certified registered nurse anestheist (CRNA), the certified nurse midwife (CNM), the clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and the registered nurse practitioner (RNP) (Hamric et al., 2009). The CRNA role began in the late nineteenth century. This is when Catholic sisters (who were the ones serving as nurses) started assisting surgeons with administering chloroform during surgery. This was during the American Civil War of 1861-1865. The CNM role also started in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That is the time that hospital-based deliveries started gaining recognition compared to home deliveries by lay midwives. The CNS role, on its part, started in the 1950s with a psychiatric CNS program at Rutger’s University in New Jersey. Lastly, the RNP role began in the 1960s in Leslie County, Kentucky. That was when nurses there started informally defining the primary healthcare role of the Nurse Practitioner (NP). Development of these APRN roles then continued over the years up to now when their current status is well-defined (Hamric, 2009) APRN Roles History Essay.

A General Description of the Roles and Responsibilities of Each APRN Type

As stated above, each of the APRN roles whose historical roots have been discussed above is now well established. The CRNA gives anesthesia to patients during surgery and other procedures requiring an anesthetic. The CNM is specialist in childbirth and women’s health, while the CNS is a clinical expert and leader in a particular area of specialty. Lastly, the RNP provides primary health care to a particular population focus.

The credibility of the early role was lower than that of the current role. This is because these APRN roles are now formally taught at postgraduate level and are respected in the healthcare sector in the United States.


Hamric, A.B., Spross, J.A. & Hanson, C.M. (Eds) (2009). Advanced practice nursing: An integrative approach. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier APRN Roles History Essay.