Prescriptive Authority and Nps

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Prescriptive Authority and Nurse Practitioners Kaymie Chandler Johnston Austin Peay State University Healthcare Policy NURS 5001 February 7, 2013 Prescriptive Authority and Nurse Practitioners There are many healthcare policy issues that affect nurse practitioners today and in the future. The Affordable Care Act is to add approximately 32 million Americans to the roles of the insured at a time when there is a shortage of primary care providers. (Fairman, Rowe, Hassmiller, Shalala 2011). Nurse practitioners will be part of the solution for this shortage, but with ever tightening restrictions on the care that they can provide, it will prove more and more difficult to ease the strain on an already over-burdened system. One policy that is especially concerning and confusing to many advanced practice nurses and future advanced practice nurses is prescriptive authority. Across the United States, each state has its own regulations on prescriptive authority for advanced practice nurses. These regulations range from simple to very complex, one state even prohibits nurse practitioners from signing prescriptions at all. In states that have more lenient prescriptive authority, patients have better access to care. In rural or underserved areas, access to a physician may be very limited, so more patients depend on nurse practitioners for care. With more lenient prescriptive authority also comes the opportunity for nurse practitioners to have more autonomy, in some cases they may choose to open their own practices depending on their state regulations. This would greatly improve access to care. Nurse practitioners having more prescriptive authority and more autonomy can also ultimately decrease healthcare costs. Per Fairman, Rowe, Hassmiller, and Shalala (2011), up to twelve nurse practitioners can be trained for the cost of educating a single physician. All of the “pros” in

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