Advanced Practice Nurses (APN)

The demand for advanced practice nurses in Western Massachusetts is growing due to health care reform and changing models of healthcare. An increased focus on primary care to reduce healthcare costs and improve care quality means that more mid-level patient care providers, like advanced practice nurses, are needed to provide care in a variety of settings.

APRNs are nurses who have met advanced educational and clinical practice requirements, and often provide services in community-based settings. APRNs’ services range from primary and preventive care to mental health to birthing to anesthesia.

The four main specialities of advanced practice nurses are:

Some nurses with advanced degrees also work in leadership or management roles within a company, conduct clinical research, or teach as nursing faculty at colleges or universities.

Education and training requirements

Because advanced practice nursing has a number of careers tracks and specialities, specific education and experience requirements will depend on the speciality and employer or program.

All advanced practice nurses have a registered nurse degree. There are some educational tracks that can lead from an associate’s degree (ADN) to a masters degree (MSN), or a bachelor’s degree (BSN) to a masters degree.

Some advanced practice nursing specialities and positions also require a doctorate degree, such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which focuses on the clinical aspects of nursing, or a PhD in nursing, which is an academic or research degree.

For each of the four areas of speciality, certification or licensing exams are required.