• Describing the Needs of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) Who Plan to Specialize in Cardiology

      Edmund, Sara; Sheppard, Kate; Stokes, Allison; Edmund, Sara; Sheppard, Kate; Flamm, Kristie (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Background: Cardiology is but one of the many clinical foci available to certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). In fact, more acute care APRNs choose cardiology as their focus than any other. With such strong interest in cardiac advanced practice nursing, it is imperative to assess the adequacy of preparation for those who wish to follow this career path. Known barriers exist in the educational and clinical preparation of this APRN population, however, there is little research detailing the specifics of those barriers. Purpose: This study describes the needs of APRNs who plan to specialize in cardiology. Method and Sampling: A qualitative design was used to describe the motivation of APRNs specializing in cardiology, tools they currently utilize to achieve their specialization, and their needs based on the current approach. I recruited participants, APRNs specializing in cardiology, through meetings at a local cardiology practice. Seven APRNs specializing in cardiology with experience ranging from 10 months to 15 years, and currently working in a cardiac setting, participated in the study. Structured interviews were conducted to describe the needs of APRNs who plan to specialize in cardiology. The interviews were audiotaped and analyzed to reveal commonalities. Findings: After analyzing the audio recordings three major commonalities emerged: APRNs specializing in cardiology must overcome limited educational opportunities, APRNs specializing in cardiology require a higher level of skill than their formal training and licensing requirements provide, and the need to validate APRNs specializing in cardiology knowledge. Additional commonalities included availability and the type of degree programs, and a lack of cardiac focus in educational preparation. Conclusion: The findings showed the needs of APRNs who plan to specialize in cardiology are rooted in their educational preparation. There is a vast amount of variability among degree programs and a severe lack of cardiac focus in their educational preparation. In order to achieve competency, 100% of study participants secured a mentorship with an expert cardiac clinician for a minimum of one year post-graduation and without assistance from their educational programs. Additionally, APRNs specializing in cardiology believe a national certification or examination requirement would be beneficial to their practice.