Are Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses a Solution to Rural Mental Health Workforce Shortages?

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Hartley, David, PhD, MHA; Hart, Valerie, PhD, MSN; Hanrahan, Nancy P., PhD, RN; Loux, Stephenie L., MS
paper description
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.