by Nancy Wicklin
This article from The Washington Post discusses the advancement of nursing practice across the United States. But is giving nurses more autonomy a good thing? It’s important to keep in mind that we are talking about “advanced practice” nurses (APRNs). APRNs include Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Anesthetists who have extra education, training, and clinical experience in their specialty areas.
The 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine found that “no studies suggest that APRNs are less able than physicians to deliver care that is safe, effective and efficient.” Likewise, research published by the University of Missouri in 2014 found that FPA states (those that allow APRNs to practice independently of a physician) have lower hospitalization rates and improved health outcomes for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
According to this article, APRNs are being given more autonomy in rural areas where physicians are scarce and in response to more people seeking care as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Provided they meet the same requirements as their physician counterparts, allowing APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education and training can only benefit our healthcare system in the long run.