the level of one of the four APRN roles within at least one of the six identified population foci. Education, certification, and licensure of an individual must be congruent in terms of role and population foci. APRNs may specialize but they cannot be licensed solely within a specialty area. In addition, specialties can provide depth in one’s practice within the established population foci. Education and assessment strategies for specialty areas will be developed by the nursing profession, i.e., nursing organizations and special interest groups. Education for a specialty can occur concurrently with APRN education required for licensure or through post-graduate education. Competence at the specialty level will not be assessed or regulated by boards of nursing but rather by the professional organizations.

In addition, a mechanism that enhances the communication and transparency among APRN licensure, accreditation, certification and education bodies (LACE) will be developed and supported.


APRN Regulation includes the essential elements: licensure, accreditation, certification and education (LACE).

  • Licensure is the granting of authority to practice.

  • Accreditation is the formal review and approval by a recognized agency of educational degree or certification programs in nursing or nursing-related programs.

  • Certification is the formal recognition of the knowledge, skills, and experience demonstrated by the achievement of standards identified by the profession.

  • Education is the formal preparation of APRNs in graduate degree-granting or post-graduate certificate programs.

The APRN Regulatory Model applies to all elements of LACE. Each of these elements plays an essential part in the implementation of the model.

Definition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Characteristics of the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) were identified and several definitions of an APRN were considered, including the NCSBN and the American Nurses Association (ANA) definitions, as well as others. The characteristics identified aligned closely with these existing definitions. The definition of an APRN, delineated in this document, includes language that addresses responsibility and accountability for health promotion and the assessment, diagnosis, and management of patient problems, which includes the use and prescription of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions.

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