Can APRNs Take Jobs as an RN?



Advanced practice registered nurses go the extra mile in their education, but should that hold them back from taking jobs with lesser responsibilities? Also, can an APRN fill in for shifts as an RN on a temporary, as-needs basis, such as an assignment from a medical staffing agency?

The answer is “yes,” but APRNs must recognize that they are acting as an RN in these situations. This assumed role limits their scope of practice and requires them to withhold from making care decisions or taking care of actions that lie outside the authority of a traditional RN. Otherwise, APRN may violate state laws requiring physician approval and collaboration.

To help you learn more about when an ARPN can serve as an RN and how that might affect their responsibilities, consider the following information.

RN Roles Require RN-Level Scope of Practice for Permanent Jobs and Temp Assignments from Medical Staffing Agency

When ARPNs take on permanent or temporary roles as an RN in a clinic or hospital setting, they are filling in shoes for a specific role with specific duties. They are also participating in a pre-established workflow, meaning that the nurse has an expected procedure for administering care and following physician orders.

Following these duties and expectations is not just about being a good employee, either. State law only authorizes RNs to perform certain tasks, and it expects them to defer decision-making to physicians and other authorized personnel. Otherwise, the clinic could face penalties or even a possible malpractice suit.

These limitations can be frustrating to ARPNs given their experience and educational levels. For instance, a nurse practitioner may be tempted to manage a patient’s care plan if they notice that they are being over or under-medicated. Even if they suspect the medication order was a mistake, they must seek an order from a physician to comply with the stated collaborative agreement.

Under this arrangement, issues can arise when someone appointed as an RN is asked to take on APRN duties. The employer must arrange for the enhanced scope of practice to be noted in the collaborative agreement, otherwise the APRN could be operating under-the-radar as far as the law is concerned.

APRNs Should Have Qualifications for RN Role


Some employers or APRNs seeking employment may be tempted to assume that their extra education level automatically qualifies them for all roles an RN can take. While an APRN may have additional skills training, every role in medicine should be filled with someone who is qualified with the exact knowledge and experience needed for that role.

For instance, a clinical nurse specialist who worked in urology may not be a better hire choice for a radiation treatment clinic than a staff nurse who has years of experience in radiation treatment and the oncology field in general.

APRNs Should Avoid the Temptationto Treat Non-Patients

Another trap APRNs can fall into is diagnosing and treating individuals in a non-clinical setting for the sake of convenience. While writing an antibiotic prescription for a colleague or family member with an obvious infection may seem like a way to save them time and money, APRNs lack the authority to place these orders and make diagnoses as long as they are mandated to collaborate with a physician for advanced practice.

If you are an APRN or a medical professional looking for jobs in your field, keep these facts in mind if you intend to look for roles as an RN. You can also improve your chances of locating a position when you work with an APRN staffing company.

BlogRey Rivera