Advanced Practice Nursing in China


APN Role Exists in Country Today:

Nurse Specialist

Nationally Certified:

Recognize Foreign Licensure:

Treatment Authority:

Prescribing Authority:

Practice Autonomously:

Ministry of Health


Nursing in China today has been pursuing the development of Advanced Practice Nursing roles (Wong et al., 2010).  While this initiative has begun there are several key influencing hurdles that will need to be addressed if such a role will be developed: 1. there are twice as many physicians in the country as that of nurses (Wong et al., 2010).  As a result much of the more advanced patient care that is currently provided in other developed nations is provided by physicians (Wong et al., 2010).  Additionally, nursing in China is a female-driven profession in a male-driven society, causing a gender-centric perspective (Wong et al., 2010).

The nursing role in China today has been developing as well.  Traditionally, the majority of nurses are educated at the diploma-level (64.5%) which incorporated 12 years of specialized primary and secondary schooling (Wong et al., 2010).  Another 24.3% have degrees at the associates level, which have been compared to nursing diploma schools in the United States, and approximately 1.3% hold bachelor degrees in nursing (Nichols, Davis, & Richardson, 2011; Wong et al., 2010).

An initiative by China’s Health Ministry has set to double their nurses to 4.45 million by 2020 (Xiang, 2011).  Registration and licensure of nurses has also been a recent initiative of China and since mid 2009 all nurses are required to pass the Chinese licensure exam (Nichols, Davis, & Richardson, 2011).  While the current education level of nursing in China has been lesser than that of other nations, China has been increasing in the exportation of nurses on the international level and as a result more programs are providing education focusing on passing the NCLEX exam necessary for more international regulation (Nichols, Davis, & Richardson, 2011; Wong et al., 2010).  With increased education provided in China, the advancement of nursing will also increase in quality.

Because of these strong factors that influence the nursing role in China, the emerging APN role resembles more the clinical nurse specialist, allowing nurses to gain expertise in content areas rather than that of a similar role to physicians (Wong et al., 2010).

Education and Certification

The current education provided for the few individuals who seek advancement in their nursing is provided at the masters level (Wong et al., 2010).  Reportedly, there are more than 30 master-level programs and 4 doctoral programs available in Mainland China as of 2005 (Yan, n.d.).


The specialties recognized by China are (Yan, n.d.): 1. Intensive care, 2. Emergency nursing, 3. Organ transplantation, 4. Operating room, and 5. Oncology.

Have information to add to this page?

Nichols, B.L., Davis, C.R., & Richardson, D.R. (2011).  Appendix J:  International models of nursing [pp. 565-642].  The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.  Institute of Medicine.

Wong, F.K., Peng, G., Kan, E.C. (2010).  Description and evaluation of an initiative to develop advanced practice nurses in Mainland China.  Nurse Educator Today, 30, 344-349.

Xiang, Z. (Ed.) (2011, April 28).  China to double number of nurses by 2010: Health Ministry.  China Weekly English News.  Retrieved from:

Yan (n.d.).  Advanced nursing practice development in Mainland China [PowerPoint Presentation].  Retrieved from:


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