The time has come for all 50 states to properly govern the licensure, scope of practice and prescribing laws for Nurse Practitioners to ensure uniformity across all states.
Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice laws must not only be nationally uniform; they need to be broadened. Because of the shortage of primary care physicians, Nurse Practitioners will most assuredly take over that role; but they can’t practice with their hands tied.
Imagine a Nurse Practitioner coming from a state where they allowed her to practice without a collaborating physician or a supervising physician. She then relocates to a state where the scope of practice and prescribing authority are so narrow, she feels like an RN again. Some states show great respect for Nurse Practitioners while others block the NP professional advancements at every opportunity. (I suspect the latter of bowing down to the AMA lobby.)
So why is the AMA up in arms? They say the level of care will decline because Nurse Practitioners don’t have the education needed. This is false as there have been many studies in the level of care between primary care physicians and Nurse Practitioners. Nurse Practitioners came out equal in level of care, but outshone the physicians in patient satisfaction, along with reducing healthcare costs. The real reason the AMA is stinging is the imagined threat that the Nurse Practitioner practices will take money away from primary care physicians and also break up the “good ole boy” referral network.
It is in the best interest of the citizens of this country to help make this happen. Why is this important to all of us?
Care by a Nurse Practitioner reduces healthcare costs in many ways:
• Office visits are significantly less than a visit to a primary care physician. • Because of their “nursing model” background in preventative medicine, they reduce the amount of yearly ER visits. • Nurse Practitioners have a higher rate of prescribing generic medication. • Patients have fewer hospitalizations under Nurse Practitioner care.
What can we do? We can write to our state and federal legislators to do as we ask for the advancement of healthcare costs reduction in regards to Nurse Practitioner professional advancement.
As always, this author is proud to be a Nurse Practitioner advocate
Cyn Doyle is the President of Placements USA LLC, a healthcare recruiting firm that specializes in Nurse Practitioner jobs and Physician Assistant jobs. Her Nurse Practitioner recruiting and Physician Assistant recruiting company motto is “We work hard to help keep America working…” She uses her healthcare recruiting company to advocate for Nurse Practitioner jobs and Physician Assistant jobs.
I wrote this blog back in 2012. Many things have changed for the better since that time, but we still have a long way before we get the Nurse Practitioner jobs and Physician Assistant jobs on track for these providers. Let's keep fighting for the Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants!