The Nurse Practitioner marks 25th Annual Legislative Update
The most comprehensive review of new legal and regulatory issues affecting advanced nursing practice across the United States is now available in the “25th Annual Legislative Update,” presented exclusively by The Nurse Practitioner: The American Journal of Primary Healthcare. The Nurse Practitioner is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
Compiled by Susanne J. Phillips, MSN, FNP-BC, the annual supplement presents a comprehensive review of the legislative proceedings, bills, and laws pertaining to advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) practice in every state. The 25th Annual Legislative Update is now freely available on the journal website.
Progress in Evidence-Based Reforms Improving Access to APRN Care
The 25th Annual Legislative Update incorporates current information provided by state nursing boards and APRN associations about the “hot topics” affecting APRN practice in their states. “Despite attempts by medical boards to limit current practice authority, APRNs succeeded in improving access to APRN care in several states,” writes Phillips.
The special edition provides an essential update on recent legislative and regulatory activity promoting access to APRN care, prompted by decades of peer-reviewed research demonstrating the quality and safety of APRN practice. Efforts are ongoing to standardize laws and regulations governing APRN practice across states, and to establish effective consumer protections.
Yet legislation continues to be “vehemently opposed” in many states, according to Phillips. She discusses steps APRNs can take to “empower legislators to move beyond the outdated, evidence-lacking arguments that APRNs are not educated enough, safe enough, or credentialed enough to care for the nation’s residents.”
This year’s update presents a rundown of the latest developments in the areas of legal authority, reimbursement, and prescriptive authority for all 50 states. It also includes a table summarizing practice authority for nurse practitioners in every state and the District of Columbia, along with updated statistics and the total number of APRNs reported by state boards of nursing.
Nurses Encouraged to Work Together to Meet Challenges
The past year has seen several important improvements in legal authorization of APRN practice, including passage of legislation and promulgation of regulations in 17 states. In addition, eight states reported statutory or regulatory activity leading to improvements in prescriptive authority.
But challenges remain, including reports of defeated bills and unsuccessful regulatory reform efforts in five states. In addition, two states – Kentucky and Missouri – passed legislation limiting APRN practice in specific ways. Phillips urges APRNs and others interested in ensuring access to evidence-based healthcare to support state APRN organizations.
Nurses are also encouraged to check out the Future of Nursing Campaign for Action, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP, to see what steps are being taken and participate in efforts to improve nursing practice. Phillips adds, “This is a great way for all of the APRN organizations to work together to implement the recommendations and improve practice in your state.”
Wolters Kluwer Health