What is APN?

The abbreviation ICN INP/APNN comes from the words International Council of Nurses, International Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Practice Nursing Network.

The definition of APN by ICN:
A Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse is a registered nurse who has acquired the expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for expanded practice, the characteristics of which are shaped by the context and/or country in which s/he is credentialed to practice. A master's degree is recommended for entry level.

The further characteristics include Educational Preparation, Nature of Practice, and Regulatory Mechanisms.

Educational Preparation

  • Educational preparation at advanced level
  • Formal recognition of educational programs preparing nurse practitioners/advanced nursing practice roles accredited or approved
  • Formal system of licensure, registration, certification and credentialing

Nature of Practice

  • Integrates research, education, practice and management
  • High degree of professional autonomy and independent practice
  • Case management/own case load
  • Advanced health assessment skills, decision-making skills and diagnostic reasoning skills
  • Recognized advanced clinical competencies
  • Provision of consultant services to health providers
  • Plans, implements & evaluates programs
  • Recognized first point of contact for clients

Regulatory mechanisms – Country specific regulations underpin NP/APN practice

  • Right to diagnose
  • Authority to prescribe medication
  • Authority to prescribe treatment
  • Authority to refer clients to other professionals
  • Authority to admit patients to hospital
  • Legislation to confer and protect the title "Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse"
  • Legislation or some other form of regulatory mechanism specific to advanced practice nurses
  • Officially recognized titles for nurses working in advanced practice roles

Read more specific information on ICN APN network webpage.