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Renee Plodzik, APRN at Concord Hospital, explains her Scope of Practice

Today, the Monitor is launching a new interactive feature called “Scope of Practice.”

Underneath all the policies and politics, health care is about care – one person tending to the needs of another. But anyone who has interacted with the health care system has seen that dozens of people are involved in that care, each at a different level and performing different tasks.

Who are some of those people and what do their titles mean? What training does one set of letters on a name tag signify that another doesn’t?

We’re starting the series today with a video on our website,,

featuring an interview with Renee Plodzik, APRN.

An APRN is an advanced practice registered nurse. Nurses are primarily regulated by the board of nursing in each state.

The national standard to become an APRN requires a person must first be licensed as a registered nurse, then obtain a master’s or doctorate degree and apply again for state licensing.

Plodzik has a bachelor’s degree from Saint Anselm College and a master’s degree from Boston College. Because she’s interested in teaching, she is now also pursuing a doctorate. She currently works at Concord Hospital in the Internal Medicine department.

An APRN may pursue a career in one of four areas of sub-specialization: nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or, like Plodzik, a nurse practitioner.

Her name tag says “ARNP,” for advanced registered nurse practitioner, an alternate title for her work.

New Hampshire is one of 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow advanced registered nurse practitioners to diagnose and treat patients without physician involvement, according to the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. Twenty-eight states require a formal relationship between the nurse and a physician, in some cases documented in writing.

New Hampshire is also one of 13 states that allow APRNs to prescribe medicine on their own.

In contrast, nurses without advanced practice licenses work under supervision of a physician, carrying out his or her orders for patient care.

For more about what an APRN does every day, watch our interview with Renee Plodzik at

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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