Let Nurses Practice! Nurse Practitioners Fight to Remove Barriers


Let nurses practice!

Nothing frustrates me more as an NP than the variability of nurse practitioner rules and legislation from state-to-state.

Every state should be the same.

In headline news this week, nurse practitioners in Missouri are pushing for more autonomy, arguing that the existing law, requiring physician collaboration, are “preventing them from providing the best possible care to their patients.” Read the full story here.

Case in point. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia do not require advanced-practice nurses to have a supervisory relationship with another health care provider.

Why does Missouri?

This is a critical matter in Missouri, where 109 of the state’s 114 counties are designated as health care provider shortage areas by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Barriers to NP practice autonomy in states like Missouri perpetuate some of the nation’s worst healthcare problems: access, quality of care, and affordability.

Missouri lawmakers agree.

Two bills brought before the Missouri State Legislature, House Bill 1371 and Senate Bill 679, would remove limits on nurses’ ability to practice, allowing nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists to prescribe controlled substances, give orders to respiratory therapists and allow them to be reimbursed for care by Missouri’s Medicaid program.

Those who oppose such legislation argue for the safety of consumers.

There is no basis for this argument.

In reality, it is unsafe is not being able to provide the best possible care to patients.

The fact is, in those states in which NPs are practicing autonomously, their safety ratios are 23 times better than those for physicians in the same states.1

“NPs must use malpractice and malfeasance ratios and figures to show legislators that the rationale for physician supervision over NPs is unfounded.”1

NPs  have earned patient’s trust and are the key to solving our nation’s healthcare crisis.

We must continue to fight to remove barriers to fully autonomous NP practice.

Lawmakers, let nurses practice!

Help support Missouri’s bill to remove barriers to full autonomy for advanced practice nurses. Send a message directly to your legislator through the AANP Advocacy Center.

1. The Pearson Report. 2012. A National Overview of Nurse Practitioner Legislation and Healthcare Issues. www.webNPonline.com.

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