What is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse? An Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a nurse who has acquired advanced nursing knowledge and clinical skills through appropriate education program beyond the requirements of a generic RN. APRN perform activities in accordance with 244 CMR 4.00 including employment of advanced skills such as evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for the management of therapeutic regimes.

Do I need to let the Board know that I've completed an APRN program? Yes. Before you can begin practicing as an APRN, you must obtain the Board's authority to practice in your role as a Nurse Practitioner (RN/NP), Nurse Midwife (RN/NM), Nurse Anesthetist (RN/NA), or Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (RN/PC).

How do I apply for APRN authorization? Applications for APRN authorization can be obtained from Professional Credential Services (PCS) . To avoid delay, follow all instructions and read the listed material.

What are the requirements for APRN authorization? To obtain the Board's authority to practice in your role as a Nurse Practitioner (RN/NP), Nurse Midwife (RN/NM), Nurse Anesthetist (RN/NA), or Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (RN/PC), the applicant must:

  • Have a current Massachusetts license as a Registered Nurse,
  • Demonstrate satisfactory completion of a formal educational which has as it objectives the preparation of nurses to perform in an advanced practice role recognized by the Board,
  • Have current certification from a national certifying organization recognized by the Board.
  • Successfully complete the entire application process.

Why do I receive two licenses when I receive authorization to practice as an APRN? When the Board authorizes you to practice as an APRN, you will receive, in addition to your wallet size RN license, a wallet size document indicating your designation as an Advance Practice Nurse in the domain for which you are authorized. Technically, these are two separate processes. Should you require or request a name change or a duplicate copy, you will be responsible for the fee for both documents.

How do I get prescriptive authority? Prescriptive authority is granted by the Department of Public Health - Drug Control Program (DPH-DCP) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after you receive the Board's authorization to practice as an APRN. You can obtain the DPH-DCP application online: http://www.mass.gov/dph/dcp or by calling (617) 983-6700. Your privilege to prescribe controlled substances is granted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and is available online at: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugreg/index.html#1

I need information on Practice & Prescriptive Guidelines, where do I get that?
Practice and Prescriptive Guidelines Information. Guidelines are defined in regulation as: "written instructions and procedures describing the methods that nurses practicing in the advanced role are to follow in managing a health care situation or resolving a health care problem and which specifies those instances in which referral to or consultation with a physician is required." The regulations at 244 CMR 4.00 describe those instances, such as review of Schedule II medication initiation within 96 hours. The Board has an Audit Tool for Compliance with the Regulations at 244 CMR 4.00 (PDF) pdf format of Audit Tool for Compliance with the Regs @ 244 CMR 4.00 , available on the website, to assist you in guideline compliance review.

My certification is in a specialty different than the job I am working in, is that okay? The Board does not grant you authority to practice in a specific specialty. The Board grants you authorization to practice in a specific domain of Advanced Practice Registered Nursing. Those domains include Nurse Practitioner (RN/NP), Nurse Midwife (RN/NM), Nurse Anesthetist (RN/NA), and Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (RN/PC). Your specialty certification is a measurement of your competency to provide services to a certain population. The decision to work with a population different than what you are certified in should be based on whether you are competent to provide services to a population different than your certification, whether you are willing to assume accountability for the outcomes, and whether you are in collaborative relationship with a supervising physician who holds the proper credentials to care for that population.

My certification has expired. Can I continue to work in the Advanced Practice Role? In order to maintain advanced practice authorization and to engage in advanced practice nursing, an APRN is required to hold current professional advanced practice certification. Your specialty certification is a measurement of your competency. It is the individual APRN's responsibility to renew their certification in a timely manner.

What credentials do I use to indicate my APRN status? Pursuant to 244 CMR 9.03(44) the nurse will sign his or her name as it appears on his or her license in all records required by federal and state laws and regulations and accepted standards of nursing practice. Specifically, Nurse Practitioner (RN/NP), Nurse Midwife (RN/NM), Nurse Anesthetist (RN/NA), and Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (RN/PC) are the accepted credentialed initials for legal documentation. The initials awarded by the APRN certifying organization may be used on business cards, stationary; advertisements and other materials not required by federal and state laws and regulations and accepted standards of nursing practice.

How can I remove the Advance Practice designation from my license? Complete the Request to Remove APRN Authorization form pdf format of Request to remove APRN authorization and mail it to the Board.


This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.