An article by Georgetown University Professor Carole Kehoe defines contemporary nursing as the evolving role of the nurse in treating patients in a technologically advanced setting. In contemporary nursing, not only do nurses assume roles formerly ascribed to doctors, they are held legally accountable as well.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, advanced practice nurses, or APNs, are used in front-line primary care in clinics, hospitals and similar venues. APNs in these facilities diagnose and treat acute illnesses, provide immunizations and perform physical exams. Clinical nurse specialists who are APNs provide health care in such areas as oncology, cardiology and pediatrics. Nurses are also certified as registered nurse anesthetists, administering over 65 percent of anesthetics in health care facilities each year.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing states that APNs prescribe medicines in at least 45 states and practice independently in 16 states, as of 2014.