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Psychiatr Serv. 2017 Sep 1;68(9):952-954. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2017 May 15.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Advanced Practice Workforce: Capacity to Address Shortages of Mental Health Professionals.

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Dr. Delaney is with the Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago (e-mail: ).


There is a recognized shortage of mental health professionals licensed to provide the full scope of mental health services, including assessment, diagnosis, and prescribing. Psychiatric mental health advanced practice nurses (PMH APNs) have the education and licensure to provide these services, address provider shortages and increase access to services. Unfortunately, federal reports and mental health workforce studies inaccurately depict important characteristics of PMH APNs, particularly their scope of practice, a situation that creates misunderstanding and impedes workforce planning. This Open Forum provides an accurate depiction of the PMH APN workforce, its size, scope of practice, and its capacity to increase access to mental health services. Also considered are the implications of using integrated care to increase access to mental health treatment. PMH APNs could increase the reach of these collaborative care models, which require constructing interprofessional teams in which each provider practices to the top of his or her license.


Access to Care; Mental Health Workforce; Nursing/psychiatric

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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