Advanced practice nurses specializing in mental health are typically referred to as advanced practice psychiatric nurses (APPNs). Clinical outcomes for these professionals have been found to be of high quality, as indicated by skill in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness (Merwin & Mauck, 1995). With an established scope of practice, including prescribing privileges, and with increasing numbers of APPNs seeking independent practice settings, it would appear that these mental health professionals may be an ideal mental health generalist for rural areas. This paper presents data on the geographic distribution of APPNs, and investigates the content of their training curriculum to determine what role this profession might play in addressing chronic shortages of mental health professionals in rural areas.
Funding Organization or Grant
This study was funded by a grant from the fede ral Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, DHHS (Grant #4 UIC RH 00013-04-05).
Hartley, D, Hart, V., Hanrahan, N.P., & Loux, S.L. (2004). Are Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses a Solution to Rural Mental Health Workforce Shortages? (Working Paper #31). Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center.