Advanced Practice Nursing

Advanced practice nursing has been described as nursing's final frontier. That statement, while sounding like a cliché, is an excellent descriptor for this expanding field that holds such interest and promise.

 The role of the APN is multifaceted including leadership, research, practice, mentorship and collaboration (the five pieces of the puzzle), all with the intended goal of providing the patient increased access to medical care while connecting all the pieces of the puzzle to holistically insure that all the needs of the patient are met.

With experienced hands guiding, directing, orchestrating and quietly listening with their hearts, APNs promote positively patient outcomes ensuring safety, satisfaction and well being.


An Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) is an RN who has completed an accredited nursing program at either the master’s or doctoral level in one of four roles: Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Nurse Practitioner (NP), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). The advanced practice curriculum includes courses based on a specific population (family/individual across the lifespan, adult/gerontology, women’s health/gender related, neonatal, pediatrics, or psych/mental health), three core courses known as the “3 Ps” (advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment) and 500 hours of clinical practicum. Certification in the primary population after graduation is highly recommended and may be required for licensure as an APN by the state.

The perioperative APN’s role includes direct patient care, research, consultation/collaboration, and education. The APN may be involved with the patient through the entire perioperative experience. 

Purpose Statements

  • Provide a forum for perioperative advanced practice nurses and other interested members of the perioperative community can unite to discuss issues relevant to advanced practice nursing.
  • Serve as a resource for perioperative leaders and AORN on issues related to advanced practice nursing.
  • Encourage lifelong learning at the advanced practice level.
  • Facilitate the implementation of evidence based research to improve perioperative patient outcomes.

2015-2016 Coordinating Council

Chair - Julie Mower, MSN, RN, CNS, CNS-CP, CNOR
Past Chair - Stephen Patten, MSN, BSN, RN, CNOR
Communication Chair - Elizabeth (Lizz) Pincus, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CNS-CP, CNOR
Co-Education Chair - Brenda Larkin, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CNS-CP, CNOR 
Co-Education Chair - Mary Russell, MN, RN, FNP-BC, CNOR
Professional/Practice Issues Chair - Weslee Wells, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, CNS-CP, CNOR
AORN CNP Staff Liaison - Lisa Spruce, DNP, RN, CNS-CP, CNOR, ACNS, ACNP
AORN Board Liaison - Martha Stratton, MSN, MHSA, RN, CNOR, NEA
AORN Staff Consultant - Debbie Robichaud Stephen 

As a member of this assembly, you can contact any member of the coordinating council via email using your AORN username and password through ORNurseLink.


AORN's specialty assemblies on ORNurseLink are a great member benefit. Access is free to all members who belong to a specialty. The web communities provide a convenient method for all members to share information, post documents, and participate in discussions. You can contact the members of the coordinating council through the community as well. To access your specialty community, you will need your AORN login and password.

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