Nurses rally for broader scope of prac­tice

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Vir­gil Dick­son

For years, nurse prac­ti­tion­ers around the coun­try have been fight­ing for the right to pre­scribe or to op­er­ate prac­tices with­out a col­lab­o­ra­tive agree­ment with a physi­cian.

Ad­vo­cates’ ef­forts to ex­pand nurse prac­ti­tion­ers’ du­ties have only in­ten­si­fied since the Af­ford­able Care Act took ef­fect and 20 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, many of them liv­ing in ar­eas with physi­cian short­ages, gained cov­er­age. This week, nurses from around the coun­try will gather in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to strate­gize and rally sup­port to al­low them to prac­tice to the full scope of their abil­i­ties and help meet that pa­tient de­mand.

The Na­tional Coun­cil of State Boards of Nurs­ing is one of many pro­fes­sional groups push­ing to gain a wider scope of prac­tice that would al­low nurse prac­ti­tion­ers to di­ag­nose pa­tients, or­der tests, com­plete death cer­tifi­cates and ini­ti­ate in­vol­un­tary psy­chi­atric com­mit­ment for un­sta­ble pa­tients with­out the need for a su­per­vi­sory re­la­tion­ship with a provider.

State and na­tional med­i­cal so­ci­eties op­pose nurse prac­ti­tion­ers gain­ing broader prac­tice au­thor­ity. They ar­gue that nurses don’t have the train­ing to prac­tice with­out some form of physi­cian su­per­vi­sion. Nurses, how­ever, dis­agree. “Nurses grad­u­at­ing from ac­cred­ited schools demon­strate the com­pe­ten­cies needed to per­form as safe and ef­fec­tive providers,” said Paula Gubrud-Howe, co-di­rec­tor of the Ore­gon Con­sor­tium for Nurs­ing Ed­u­ca­tion, a statewide coali­tion. “The data clearly il­lus­trate care pro­vided by ad­vanced prac­tice nurses im­proves pa­tient out­comes,” she said.

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