TORRANCE MEMORIAL’S ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES PROVIDE HIGH-LEVEL CARE—COUPLED
Most people haven’t heard the term “advanced practice nurse,”
but many of us have had the benefits of interactions with these highly
trained and skilled clinicians. In addition to a nursing degree, advance
practice nurses (APN) require a master’s degree and specialization
in their chosen field.
The California Board of Registered Nurses recognizes four types of APNs:
clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse
anesthetist and certified nurse-midwife. At Torrance Memorial Medical
Center, patients will find two of these: nurse practitioners and clinical
According to Barbara LeQuire, MSN, CNS, PNP, vice president of nursing
services and a pediatric nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist
in neonatal care, these nurses have diverse roles. “Caring for patients
and families, developing staff nurses, leading organization-wide practice
changes and committees, academia or working directly with physicians”
are all functions of an APN, she notes.
Clinical nurse specialists often plan educational rollouts for their individual
units or for nurses throughout the hospital. At the
Torrance Memorial Cancer Resource Center, for example, advanced practice nurses offer information on diet, exercise
and lifestyle choices for cancer survivors, which can help with recovery
and diminish the risk of recurrence.
Patients may be familiar with having office visits with nurse practitioners,
who often assume high-level roles. “They are clinical experts who
round daily with physicians, assess and plan patient care, write prescriptions
and discharge patients,” says LeQuire.
Mark Lurie, MD, medical director of the Lundquist Cardiovascular Institute at Torrance
Memorial, notes that the nurse practitioners he works with in cardiology
truly make a difference for both doctors and patients. In the
Heart Failure program, for instance, patients often come in with serious illnesses and have
many issues to address. The nurse practitioners are able to interpret
results from medical tests and scans, counsel patients and, perhaps most
importantly, pay close attention to all aspects of an individual’s
care. “For physicians, they make our lives easier. For patients,
they make their lives far more pleasant,” says Dr. Lurie.
Dr. Lurie credits the Heart Failure Program’s Gold-Plus Quality Achievement
Award from the American Heart Association to nurse practitioner Roxanna
Balter, MSN, ACNP, CHFN, who helped organize the team and adheres to the
rigorous, evidence-based guidelines required for accreditation.
By focusing on best practices, APNs help lead, support and improve patient
care on a daily basis, says LeQuire. She proudly notes that Torrance Memorial
has earned the coveted “Magnet” recognition from the American
Nurses Credentialing Center, which recognizes health care organizations
that provide excellence in nursing.
“With our experts side-by-side with our staff on a daily basis, these
APNs make a difference every day,” she says. “Our patients
benefit by their knowledge, expertise and focus on improving outcomes,
and that makes us one of the state’s best hospitals as noted in
U.S. News & World Report.”