Care and authority

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I often ask myself what is the point of continuing and increasing my education, if outdated state practice laws won't allow me to provide the high level of care that I've been prepared to deliver. As a future nurse practitioner, it amazes me that each state has individual state practice laws that regulate what we can do and what we can't do within the scope of our practice.

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, only one-third of the nation has adopted full practice authority licensure and practice laws for nurse practitioners, with Pennsylvania not being one of them. These variations result in significant differences among states in terms of nurse practitioners' authority to provide primary care, to prescribe medications, to order tests and to be reimbursed. Studies have shown that the states that have implemented full practice authority for their nurse practitioners have positively impacted patients and practice in the areas of access, quality, efficiency and costs.

If, or should I say when, Obamacare is finally executed, who will be responsible for providing primary care to the millions of newly insured individuals? This is a problem and, without permitting nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their education and training, we will have an abundance of patients seeking care but no one to provide it, hurting the actual people it was meant to help.

NIKIA TUCKER, R.N.
Ross


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