First up in the news this week for the Nursing Show audience I have a look at the progress so far in bringing down practice barriers to advanced practice nurses around the country. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine put out a report in 2010 calling for the removal of these barriers in all states.
Expanding Nurse Practitioner Autonomy
So where are we five years later? I know my state, Maryland, passed a full practice authority law for nurse practitioner APRNs in May and other states have recently followed suit. There are now twenty-two states with similar laws on the books including the District of Columbia. That’s great news if you’re a nurse or a patient in those states.
The problem is that that number means that there are twenty-nine other states out there which don’t offer that full practice authority. The medical establishment continues their tired old mantra of dangers to patient safety if you’re not a medical doctor and most states are unfortunately still listening to them.
Become A Nurse Health Policy Advocate
The challenge continues to call for all of us as nurses to be stronger advocates for our nurse practitioner colleagues in advanced practice. Insurance companies are starting to allow nurse practitioners to bill independently for their services. Major legislative and lobbying organizations are supporting us including the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the AARP.
Continued pressure needs to be put on legislators and Governors to give more access to care in their state by allowing nurse practitioners to work independently of physicians and not merely as physician extenders. Get on the bandwagon and work with your local, state and national nursing organizations. Make our position on this issue known and to educate them on the benefits for healthcare and patients when nurses can practice to the fullest extent of their training and education.
Let’s get out there and do something about this folks.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Building Nurse Leadership in Critical Care and Episode 356.