Advanced Practice Nurses

The Colorado State Board of Nursing defines an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) as a “master’s prepared nurse holding a graduate degree in nursing who has completed a graduate or post-graduate program of study in an advanced practice role, in an accredited nursing program and has been recognized and included on the Advanced Practice Registry by the Board."

In a 2008 Colorado Health Institute Survey of Registered Nurses, approximately 8 percent identified themselves as an APN, indicating that there are nearly 5,000 APNs in Colorado. These APNs were distributed across the following specialty areas: 6 percent were primary care nurse practitioners; 2 percent were other nurse practitioners; 1 percent were CRNAs; 1 percent were women’s health nurse practitioners; and less than 1 percent were certified nurse midwives.

The four nationally recognized certificate programs that meet the standards set by the Board of Nursing include: (a) Nurse practitioner; (b) Certified registered nurse anesthetist; (c) Certified nurse midwife; and (d) Clinical nurse specialist. Effective July 1, 2008, applicants for APN status in Colorado must hold a graduate degree in an appropriate specialty area.