The Certified Nurse Practitioner: Professional Goals


Nursing practice is a matter of significant concern for the medical care system and people who plan to engage in nursing careers in the future. As for me, I am considering proceeding with my future career as a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP). I find that role appropriate for me since nursing practice is my way of self-fulfillment. In addition, the demand for care services and professionals in the field is rapidly increasing nowadays (Cartwright, 2020). Health care is one of the most significant professional fields as it directly impacts people’s health and lives. This paper aims to explore my professional goals related to my future role as a CNP. The objectives of this work are evaluating my professional pursuits, analyzing the scope of nursing practice within several concepts, including political and social climates and the law, and discussing strategies to support continued role development. As a CNP, my role involves health promotion, disease prevention, and providing initial, ongoing, and comprehensive care, which is why it is critical to explore my future before advancing into it.

Personal Future Goals as a Certified Nurse Practitioner

A certified nurse practitioner (CNP) is supposed to provide care on an advanced level. CNP is one of four nursing roles defined by the APRN Consensus Module published in 2008 (Hudspeth & Klein, 2019). A CNP provides care in many medical fields, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, family practice, and others. Therefore, my primary professional goal is to become an expert in my field and be as helpful for medical care as I can. I understand that, which is why I plan to educate and reassess my practice and skills constantly. As Hudspeth & Klein (2019) state, it is crucial to keep practicing for further advancement of the profession of a nursing practitioner. Once I become a CNP, I will do everything in my power to evolve as a professional and seek new methods to work more effectively.

However, specific practice requirements have to be met to achieve the goals mentioned above. First of all, most NPs in the United States need a Master’s degree or higher to become certified (Hudspeth & Klein, 2019). That is why I will have to obtain a Master’s degree before becoming a CNP. Further education corresponds directly to my professional goals since the more educated and experienced I am, the more chance I have to become a genuine professional in my field.

I will also have to improve my personal qualities such as stress tolerance and self-confidence because they are essential when adjusting to a new role, especially that of an APRN. Researchers state that many APRNs “express a lack of self-confidence as they begin their new practitioner roles” (Urbanowicz, 2019). That issue can directly affect the professional development of an APRN in their new position and even impact the decision to remain in the profession or not (Urbanowicz, 2019). Having proper levels of education and practice will not be enough to become a professional in the field. It also requires a solid and confident personality to adequately confront the difficulties that the role of CNP may involve.

The Scope of Advanced Nursing Practice

Several concepts, such as political and social climates or the law, may significantly impact my future scope of practice (SOP). The current political situation can affect the role of CNP in primarily positive ways. There is currently an increasing need for more primary care providers in the United States, which leads to the continued growth of the profession of the nursing practitioner (Hudspeth & Klein, 2019). That national need has made policy experts support regulatory changes in the medical care system (Hudspeth & Klein, 2019). According to Hudspeth & Klein (2019), this process has been ongoing for almost 50 years. Therefore, the role of a CNP currently has a high demand from the political point of view.

However, some crucial social issues can negatively impact the role of a nursing practitioner. First of all, the landscape of the regulations mentioned in the previous section is changing at multiple levels (Hudspeth & Klein, 2019). That can provoke professional instability, making a nursing practitioner apply strenuous efforts to keep working effectively. Furthermore, Hudspeth & Klein (2019) state the following regarding the current employment situation for nursing practitioners (NPs):

NPs who are educated and certified within one population group are often placed in situations of treating patients outside of this population group, which could result in a practice violation of practicing beyond or outside of the approved SOP. Because establishing SOP is state based, NPs must remain informed about these regulations to avoid SOP conflicts (p. 469).

Six different patient population groups are described in the current research (Cary & Smolenski, 2017). That range is large enough to state that it might be dangerous to switch from group to group without proper preparation. To address that potential barrier, I have to seek an employer carefully, so I do not encounter a similar issue.

As for the law, the scope of practice for CNPs has been modified in the United States lately. According to Hudspeth & Klein (2019), the law statutes concerning the Nursing Practice act led to more autonomy and “placed NP regulatory responsibility solely with boards of nursing” (p. 469). The researchers state that needs of society for more accessible health care led to those changes (Hudspeth & Klein, 2019). Therefore, the current law state is loyal to the nursing practice and does not form any barriers to address.

Another legal issue for my future nursing role is the high complexity of several credentialing processes required for any APRN application. It is not simple to get the right to work as a nursing practitioner. First, I will have to write a credentialing application for an APRN appointment to an authorized department (Cary & Smolenski, 2020). That application includes personal and practical information, education and training, certifications, clinical performance, criminal background report, and many other points (Cary & Smolenski, 2020). However, legal standards suppose that all APRNs who deliver law-permitted medical health care must be credential and privileged (Cary & Smolenski, 2020). Therefore, the process of applying for an APRN appointment is complex, yet it provides practical advantages, and I will manage it for my benefit.

Continued Development of My Role as a CNP

The role of a primary care certified nursing practitioner is progressing rapidly nowadays. According to a recent study, the number of primary care NPs has increased by 30% between 2010 and 2020 (Cartwright, 2020, p. 4). In addition, patients’ acuity is higher now than in the past, and they have more complex needs (Cartwright, 2020). The NP profession has to develop constantly to adapt to the current medical environment, meaning that I will have to grow as a CNP, too. For these purposes, many various fellowship and residency programs exist (Cartwright, 2020). I can add them to my professional development process to ease it and motivate me to evolve as a CNP.

The role of a certified nurse practitioner involves several competencies. These include leadership and decision-making, efficient providing of care services and improving health care delivery, understanding of ethics and health policy (Cartwright, 2020). Therefore, I will have to make critical decisions, get a comprehensive understanding of the health care delivery system, and analyze the implications of ethics and health policy in medical care. I can put more effort into my education and practice to support those competencies because they are vital for my nursing role.

As was mentioned earlier, I need a higher education level, namely a Master’s degree, to become a professional APRN, a CNP specifically. Therefore, obtaining my MS is the next step in my education essential for my professional growth as a CNP. There is also a chance I will decide to get a Ph.D. for further professional advancement. Moreover, I will pursue every opportunity to gain as much working experience as possible for my professional development to be more practical. These are my ways to continue professionally growing as a CNP.


Exploring the role of a certified nurse practitioner is crucial for me as it covers many different aspects of medical care that I have to discuss to develop professionally. My initial goal is to become a skillful CNP so the health care could greatly benefit from my work. For these purposes, I have planned to obtain a higher education, practice as much as possible, and develop professionally and individually. Several social and legal issues can become potential barriers for my nursing practice, yet I have considered ways to address them without damaging my professional development. Moreover, there are many fellowship programs, educational opportunities, and practical implications of my role that can help me grow as a CNP. Everything mentioned above reflects my professional goals for my role as a nursing practitioner in medical care.


Cartwright, C. C. (2020). Effect of an APRN fellowship program on job satisfaction and retention. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri]. University of Missouri Library System.

Hudspeth, R. S., & Klein, T. A. (2019). Understanding nurse practitioner scope of practice: regulatory, practice, and employment perspectives now and for the future. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 31(8), 468-473. doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000268

Cary, A. H., & Smolenski, M. C. (2020). Credentialing and clinical privileges for the advanced practice registered nurse. In L.A. Joel (Ed.), Advanced practice nursing: Essentials for role development (4th ed.). F.A. Davis Company.

Urbanowicz, J. (2019). APRN transition to practice: Program development tips. The Nurse Practitioner, 44(12), 50-55. doi: 10.1097/01.NPR.0000605520.88939.d1

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