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History of the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Contributor: Kim Curry, PhD, FNP-C, FAANP
Editor, JAANP

Mysteries of Publishing
History of Nursing Journals

About the Journal

The Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (JAANP) is a monthly, scholarly, peer-reviewed journal for nurse practitioners (NPs) and is the official journal for all members of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). JAANP supports the mission of AANP to lead NPs in transforming patient-centered health care with a vision of high-quality health care for all by the patient’s provider of choice. Our mission is to serve the information needs of NPs and others with an interest in advanced practice nursing. Our readers include members of AANP and other NPs who provide care in domestic and international settings for clients of all ages, manage a broad spectrum of acute and chronic conditions, prescribe a variety of medications and treatments, and function to the full scope of advanced practice nursing in their respective states and countries. The AANP organizational mission is​​ to empower all NPs to advance accessible, person-centered, equitable, high-quality health care for diverse communities through practice, education, advocacy, research and leadership.  JAANP supports these values by expanding the scientific knowledge of nurse practitioners.

From the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (JAANP) website

The year was 1985, and a new national organization was formed for a rapidly emerging role: the nurse practitioner (NP). The organization, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), was formed by a small group of NPs dedicated to the promotion and recognition of their advanced nursing role, with a particular focus on overcoming the legislative barriers that prevented NPs from realizing full practice authority.

It was soon decided that the organization needed a journal to both communicate NP science and to promote the role and capabilities of NPs. In the first editorial, the authors explained “It was believed by the Academy that a peer-reviewed journal would best meet the needs of all nurse practitioners regardless of specialty and practice setting. Hence, the journal you see before you” (Towers & Nativio, 1989). The Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (JAANP) started as a quarterly journal in 1989, four years after the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners was founded.

Dr. Jan Towers, one of the founders of AANP, co-authored the first editorial in the journal along with Dr. Donna G. Nativio. Both were trailblazing nurse practitioners who did much to advance the NP role on a national level. Some of the featured articles in the first issue included:

Nurse Practitioner Political Strength Through Unification

Delivery Outcomes of Low-Risk Births: Comparison of Certified Nurse Midwives and Obstetricians

National Cholesterol Education Program: Guidelines for Treating High Blood Cholesterol in Adults

Preliminary Report of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Nurse Practitioner Survey

Grass Roots Involvement in the Political Process Makes a Difference

These titles reflect the dual emphasis of the journal on advancing both the science of NP practice and NP legislative influence to improve patient access to care, the primary reason for the founding of the NP role in the 1960s.

During the first years of publication, the editorial board placed an emphasis on articles by NPs related to educating other NPs. As Dr. Charon Pierson (former Editor of the journal) recalled, “Early on, there was a lot published by physicians with a focus on technical education, but one early article I remember that was constantly requested, was how to do a concise 3-minute presentation to your medical preceptor in a clinic. Case presentation was one of those things that nurses were never taught – nursing reports went on and on! Another hot topic was objective structured clinical evaluations (OSCEs). They were not common in nursing education, but NP educators found them very useful. Many nursing education journals were not interested in the topic. We were trying to educate NPs, not mini-doctors, and JAANP was trying to fill some of those voids” (C. Pierson, personal communication, October 22, 2022).

Dr. Towers served as Editor-in Chief of JAANP for 11 years. In 2000, she was replaced by Dr. Charon Pierson, who served for the next 18 years. In 2018, Dr. Kim Curry became the third Editor-in Chief of the journal. During this time, the number of license NPs has increased exponentially, from about 23,000 in 1984 to over 68,000 in 1999, and now over 355,000 as of 2022 (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2022). 

In 2013, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners merged with the American College of Nurse Practitioners to form the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The journal name changed to the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioner at that time. In 2015, JAANP became an online-only journal.

The journal continues to change to meet the needs of a growing and diverse organization. It moved from a quarterly to a bimonthly journal in 1993, and the following year it became a monthly publication, as it continues today. It has always been a society journal and a member benefit, thus all members of AANP are subscribers to JAANP. There are now over 120,000 members of AANP.


American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2022). Historical timeline.

Towers, J. & Nativio, D. (1989). Editorial. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners: January 1989,1(1), 1.

About Kim Curry

Dr. Curry is Editor in Chief of the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.  She earned her BSN in Nursing from the University of Florida and then received her MBA from Southern Illinois University. She followed that with a PhD in Adult Education and finally an MSN in Family Health Nursing, both from the University of South Florida. She is a certified family nurse practitioner who maintains an active clinical practice in Tampa, Florida. She also holds a courtesy faculty appointment at the University of Florida College of Nursing.

Research interests include primary prevention as well as nursing and public health history. Dr. Curry is a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau International, as well as local and state nursing organizations.

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