Numerous changes in the US healthcare system leave APRN’s with an increased responsibility to provide comprehensive care to a wide variety of complex patients. Additionally, these changes will require APRN’s to enter leadership positions in the healthcare system and the public health field. One significant change that is taking place within the US healthcare system is the movement of physicians away from primary care and into specialized settings. APRN’s are increasingly filling the subsequent void of primary care providers and therefore handling a wide variety of complex patients on a more independent level. An advanced skillset in diagnosis and treatment, high-level critical thinking skills, and the ability to apply evidence-based practice is required to perform at this high-functioning level.  Therefore, APRN’s should be required to obtain a higher level of education in order to provide quality care to their patients. Doctorate programs specifically place a focus on enhancing this particular skillset for APRN’s.

In addition to shifts in primary care, changes in the US population will require APRN’s to function at an increasingly complex level, requiring higher levels of education. The expected increase in life expectancy in the US will be accompanied with an increase in chronic illnesses and comorbidities. Additionally, the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity of patients within the US requires APRN’s to apply a larger skillset in terms of effective communication and contextualizing patient care in terms of their culture.

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Furthermore, due to the increasing complexity of the US healthcare system, there is a demand for healthcare leaders to assist on an organizational and public health level. APRN’s are taking up leadership roles within the healthcare system, therefore requiring a higher level of education. The doctorate level of education specifically provides APRN’s with the education needed to obtain roles in leadership positions, through its focus on improving care delivery models and examining health care outcomes.

These shifts in the US healthcare system and subsequently in the role of an APRN will directly affect my career as a nurse in a positive manner.  I desire to both obtain a role in primary care and to work as a leader in health policy throughout my career as an FNP. As an FNP in primary care, I will be able to use advanced critical thinking skills and evidence-based practice in working with an increasingly challenging population. I will be functioning at an increasingly independent level and will be able to care for patients more extensively.  In terms of acquiring a leadership position in the public health domain, I plan to apply my knowledge as a DNP to work in policy change and program development.  The doctorate degree will allow me to achieve opportunities at public health organizations such as the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization.

In choosing a career, I knew I wanted to be able to carry out kindness and compassion on a daily basis.  This mindset, along with my passion for social justice, played major roles in my decision to pursue nursing. Now that I am working as an RN, I am becoming more aware of certain personality traits that have helped me thrive as a nurse. My ability to be open-minded has allowed me to understand my patients and families’ perspectives when they are going through difficult times, allowing me to best address their needs. Additionally, my love for problem solving translates to patient care in that I am constantly using critical thinking to solve problems for both my patients and their families. Finally, my organization skills and ability to complete tasks thoroughly has allowed me to provide optimal holistic care when caring for my patients. I am extremely grateful for my decision to become a nurse, and I hope to continually be advancing my nursing education in order to provide the best possible care for my patients.