Best treatment for vets is at VA
So, reading some commentators, they think that making the scope of practice for Veterans Affairs advanced practice registered nurses the same across the country and the “same” is the full scope of practice being equal to that of the most advanced states will result in inferior treatment for vets. What they actually say is more like “nurses who aren’t supervised by doctors will not be as good for vets.” Well, that statement is true, but that is not what VA is actually doing. It’s a misleading statement of what VA is doing.
What is being done is simply applying the standards of the scope of practice that are present in 19 states and Washington, D.C., to the entire country, because these RNs are practicing at federal facilities and ought to be able to give full care to the extent of their education and experience.
First, registered nurses are already required to complete a rigorous course of study. Then, to be an advanced practice registered nurse, they must complete several more years of rigorous study. Such study includes physiology, anatomy, pharmacy and clinical practicums in which their class room knowledge is tested in real hospitals on real patients. This results in every day at some hospital an RN asking an MD if they really want to use medicine at that strength to treat this patient and the MD thanks them and says “no” and corrects the treatment orders.
So, RNs are currently fully responsible for treating their patients to the extent of their scope of practice. VA is now providing that advanced practice RNs will practice nationally to the full scope of practice provided at 40 percent of the states.
Every hospital is evaluated every three years in this country. The evaluation includes adverse results like wrong meds, wrong surgery, proper systems to avoid adverse events, etc. VA medical centers score in the low 90s on average while the national average is in the high 80s, so no one should worry about the care given to vets.
William Wetmore, Waldorf