Nurse Leaders and Nurse Educators as APRNs

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 2
Words: 393
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College


The healthcare system is driven first and foremost by its professionals. Nurses stand at the frontline of treating patients, and their qualifications should correspond with their competences. Currently, nurse leaders and nurse educators do not possess APRN status. Yet, these roles are essential in training and managing nurses. The prominence of nurse leaders (CNL) and nurse educators raises a discussion on whether these roles can be considered APRNs.

Examination of nurse roles

On the one hand, equating nurse leaders and nurse educators with advanced practice nurses is plausible for two reasons. First, they have sufficient education, since a master’s degree is a requirement to be a nurse leader, like for APRNs. Second, they possess medical skills and expertise in treatment, equivalent to those required of advanced practice nurses. From this perspective, nurse leaders and nurse educators fulfill the requirements for APRNs.

On the other hand, significant discrepancies does not allow qualifying these two roles as APRNs. Advanced practice presupposes direct patient care, which does not constitute a major competence of nurse leaders and nurse educators. Nurse leaders manage the quality of healthcare in their teams, while nurse educators play a mentor role in preparing medical stuff. Thus, the expertise of these roles does not satisfy the criteria for APRNs.

Personal Opinion

In my opinion, the advanced practice nurse status should only be applied to nurse educators. The article by Booth, Emerson, Hackney and Souter (2016) supports this idea by pointing out that the preparation of numerous nurse educators is clinical rather than pedagogical. When it comes to CNLs, I refer to O’Lynn’s examination (2015) of the reasons for the lack of opportunities for nurses without the advanced practice certificate. O’Lynn (2015) pointed to the publication of the AACN, which stressed practice specialization as the major focus of nurse’s education. CNL’s expertise lies in healthcare management and not direct patient care (Rejouis & Boyce, 2018). These considerations propel me to disassociate nurse leaders from APRNs.


Both nurse leaders and nurse educators are essential roles in a clinical setting. Nurse educators’ training frequently emphasizes clinical practice, thus underpinning their suitability for advanced practice status. In contrary, nurse leaders’ competencies do not line with APRN criteria, because they are prepared for a managerial job, while APRNs prioritize clinical expertise. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to consider nurse leaders fitting the advanced practice arena.


Booth, T. L., Emerson, C. J., Christi, J., Hackney, M. G., & Souter, S. (2016). Preparation of academic nurse educators. Nurse Education in Practice, 19, 54-57.

O’Lynn, C. (2015). Endorsing the Doctor of Nursing practice pathway for nurse educators. Journal of Nursing Education, 54(9), 475–477.

Rejouis, R. & Boyce, J. H. (2018). The 21st century nurse leader and the future of health care. Nursing & Care Open Access Journal, 5(5), 317–319.