Honoring our Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

At the University of Michigan Health System, we are honoring all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

A clinical nurse specialist works with a patient.

A clinical nurse specialist works with a patient.

(APRNs) this week. An APRN may be a Nurse Practitioner in the hospital or clinic assisting in the treatment of your illness, a Nurse Anesthetist in the operating room putting you to sleep, a Nurse Midwife delivery your baby, or a Clinical Nurse Specialist educating you on a new treatment plan or educating staff to provide your quality nursing care.

APRNs practice at the advanced level of nursing. They hold a master’s degree in nursing that includes about 500 hours of clinical experience at the advanced level, have passed a national certification exam and are licensed by the state in which they practice. APRNs are either nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, or nurse midwives. Some of the more typical specialties for nurse practitioners are adult health, hematology/oncology, family health, psychiatric, pediatric health, neonatal health, women’s health, and geriatric health.

The scope of practice for an APRN is determined by the state laws where the nurse practices, which generally refer back to the scope and standards statements of the professional organization associated with the specialty.

APRNs practice the art of medicine by focusing on healing a patient’s mind, body, and spirit. They provide the needed hug, the touch of a hand, the calming of fears, and the clarity of the medical jargon to assist in the healing process. APRNs can be found throughout UMHS, including the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In the Cancer Center we have 46 Nurse Practitioners, called NPs and two Clinical Nurse Specialists, or CNSs.

NPs work in many of the Cancer Center clinics assisting in the care of patients throughout their cancer journey:

  • explaining what the cancer diagnosis means
  • assessing and examining patients at follow up visits
  • helping patients manage side-effects from chemotherapy
  • helping manage patient’s pain to relieve suffering
  • answering those tough questions

And most of all, they provide the caring touch of a hand or a needed hug when the challenges of the cancer journey become too much.Our CNSs help educate all our Cancer Center nursing staff to provide the most up to date quality nursing care. Our nurses are thoroughly trained to bring high quality care to the chair and bedside.

My whole nursing career has been in the cancer field. I feel so honored to provide care for patients during their cancer journey. As a Nurse Practitioner, I have had so many opportunities to give those needed hugs, hold the hand to relieve fears, actively listen to concerns, return a phone call to provide answers to a problem, and to assist in developing plans of care that are made together with my patients.

My biggest honor is when patients calls me their friend. My patients are so much more than their cancer diagnosis: they are human beings with meaningful lives who need assistance tackling their cancer head on. I strive to be that person they know they can count on, so they never feel alone during their cancer journey. Patients have given to me as much as I given to them. I feel so blessed to be an Oncology Nurse Practitioner.

For more information:

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

American College of Nurse Practioners

Oncology Nursing Society 

Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing

Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners

This is an updated repost of an article in November 2012.



Kelly_150Kelly Scheu is a Nurse Practitioner at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has spent her entire nursing career in the cancer field.





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The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan for cancer patient care. Seventeen multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.