AANP president weighs in on full practice authority laws

It’s no secret our healthcare system is needlessly complex and full of mounting challenges that often make it complicated for patients to navigate and get the care they need.


Outdated nursing licensure laws are one of those challenges — and one we can address together.

Each state issues individual nursing licenses that are just like driver’s licenses, which authorize individuals to drive automobiles — except for the fact that authorization for practice can end at the state line.

Imagine for a moment what it would be like if you owned your car and had a state-issued driver’s license, but had to obtain a permission slip from a neighbor before you could drive?

These permission slips also could limit your ability to drive on the highway or even make right-hand turns. Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?

We’d end up with traffic jams and kids late for school. As far-fetched as this sounds, a version of this happens to nurse practitioners (NPs) in states around the country every day.

Full practice authority rules and regulations

It’s illegal for nurse practitioners in 28 states to practice their profession without a “permission slip” — a collaborative agreement with a physician.

This creates bottlenecks in the workforce, increasing healthcare costs and, even worse, leaving patients with unmet healthcare needs.

Healthcare providers and policymakers need a clear understanding of the impact of outdated scope of practice licensure laws and the benefits full practice authority offers patients, communities and our entire healthcare system.

The benefits of full practice authority include:

  • Helping states better address challenges to accessing primary care that impacts millions of patients.
  • Lowering the costs of healthcare in states that embrace the model.
  • Increasing our nation’s capacity to combat the opioid crisis by expanding the pool of providers authorized to prescribe medication-assisted treatments.

As state legislators gear up to consider full practice authority bills in 2020, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is calling on lawmakers — and partnering with our nursing colleagues — to recognize the value of embracing the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s APRN Model Practice Act as the gold standard for implementation.

For those pondering what it all means for our profession and patients in your state, below are some key points to know in the effort to secure adoption of full practice authority nationwide.

Definitions matter

First, it’s important to understand how scope of practice laws are defined and classified by each state. The AANP has created a helpful map for easy visual reference that shows you where each state stands.

On the map, states are coded:

  • Green for full practice authority
  • Yellow for reduced practice
  • Red for restricted practice

State practice and licensure laws permit all NPs to:

  • Evaluate patients
  • Diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests
  • Initiate and manage treatments, including prescribing medications and controlled substances, under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing

Reduced and restricted practice states have any number of regulations that prohibit NPs from engaging in some aspect of their practice, even though they are educated, trained and …read more

Read full article here: nurse.com