Nurse Practitioners Gain Full Practice in Nevada
Many have heard the concern that there are not enough physicians to cover the additional 30 million people that will have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. One solution states are considering is to give nurse practitioners more autonomy.
Nurses that have advanced degrees in family medicine already have full practice in 17 states. Full practice allows nurse practitioners to “evaluate patients, diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests, initiate and manage treatments—including prescribe medications—under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing.”
State that allow nurses to have full autonomy are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.
Nevada is the most recent state to expand the scope of practice for nurse practitioners. The state is one of the bottom five states in terms of doctors per capita. Stateline reports that “the new law allows nurse practitioners with at least two years of experience to set up practice. They can open their own autonomous health clinics and provide the same range of primary care services as physicians do.”
Stateline reports those in opposition to expanding nurse practitioner autonomy argue nurses do not have adequate training to safely practice. A doctor needs to attend medical school for four years and an additional three years of residency. On the other hand, a nurse practitioner completes four years of nursing school and two more years of graduate school.
Supporters argue that allowing nurse practitioners to have full practice is an affordable and safe method to cover the wave of newly insured people.