Nurse Practioners are arguing for greater scope of practice and independence from physicians to practice medicine. Because of physician shortages, a growing number of states are granting advanced practice nurses broader practice authority.
From the article
A 2010 Institute of Medicine report titled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” recommended that nurses be given the right to perform procedures, actions and processes based on their education and training. Restricting their practice, according to the report, undermines nurse practitioners’ ability to provide much-needed primary care in areas where there are physician shortages, especially rural areas.
There has been some progress since the report. A December 2015 update from the IOM showed that Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Vermont had changed their laws to give nurse practitioners full practice and prescriptive authority, bringing the total to 21. Another six—Arkansas, Kentucky, New York, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin—have expanded nurse practitioners’ scope of practice.
Still, state and national medical societies continue to oppose nurse practitioners gaining broader practice authority. They argue that nurses don’t have the training to practice without some form of physician supervision.
A family physician typically has as much as 11 years of school and 21,000 hours of post-graduate training. An advanced nurse practitioner has between five to seven years of education and only 5,300 hours of post-graduate training, according to an American Academy of Family Physicians analysis.