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Little is known about the association between advanced practice nursing and mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the presence of advanced practice nurses (APN), that is, certified nurse (CN) and certified nurse specialist (CNS) in intensive care, is associated with 30-day mortality for mechanically ventilated critically ill patients.Using a Japanese national in-patient database, we identified 45,620 patients who were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and received mechanical ventilation within 2 days of hospital admission between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015. We assessed the association between the number of CN/CNSs per 10 adult ICU beds and 30-day mortality.We examined 8955 patients in 134 hospitals without CN/CNSs and 36,665 in 284 hospitals with CN/CNSs. Overall, the number of CN/CNSs per 10 adult ICU beds ranged from 0 to 7.5. In the multivariable analysis, the number of CN/CNSs per 10 adult ICU beds was significantly associated with a reduction in 30-day mortality (adjusted odds ratio 0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.94–1.00; P = 0.023).Our findings show that APNs may play an important role in improving patient outcome in the adult ICU.Advanced practice nursing was significantly associated with reduction in mortality in mechanically ventilated patients.Advanced practice nursing may be important for improved patient outcomes in the Japanese adult ICU.This study has important implication for health care decision makers and policy makers.