Like physicians, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have an extensive knowledge of healthcare and have obtained high levels of training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions under the Nursing Model of Healthcare.
These healthcare professionals have the education and practice necessary to provide a variety of healthcare services such as reviewing patient history, performing physical exams, prescribing treatment and medications, as well as providing oversight of a patient’s general health. By the year 2026, the growing need for medical services will cause the demand for NPs to rise by 36%.
While the United States faces a shortage of access to primary care in many states, the growing role of NPs appears to be a viable resolution, and enhancing their autonomy in the workforce will allow them to better serve the needs of a changing population.
At NP PA Recruiters, we are dedicated to providing NPs and healthcare industry employers with the most pertinent information to ensure they are making the right decisions when it comes to growing their clinic or enhancing their career choices.
Please continue reading below to learn more about the growing movement of increased autonomy for NPs.
The Passage of Autonomy in the States
Over the past two decades, Nurse Practitioners have gradually been provided autonomy to use their knowledge and experience in providing general healthcare services to the public.
Independent practice of NP care was first introduced in states such as New Hampshire, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska in the 1980s. This occurred because of a lack of physicians in remote areas and communities. This growing role of NPs continued on through the 1990s, as more rural areas began to adopt this form of healthcare.
By 2010, many states had already passed strict state provisions for physician oversight of nurses, which grew with the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
As more states began to allow independent practice, the access to primary care grew in the United States and in areas where healthcare services were scarce. Although many states have seen the benefits of autonomy, many other states still have regulated and restricted practice on care provided by NPs.
The Different Scopes of Practice by State
It has been a long journey for NPs to gain the opportunity for independent practice in various states. The scope of practice allowed lies within three tiers: independent practice, reduced practice, and restricted practice.
Below we highlight the states by level of autonomy allowed:
As of now, 23 states allow NPs the autonomy to perform a wide range of medical services such as evaluating and running diagnostics, providing treatment, and even prescribing medicines under the regulations of the State Board of Nursing
States that Allow Independent Practice Include:
Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming.
The following 16 states have reduced the level of care that can be provided by an NP. Under reduced practice, this lessens the ability for NPs to engage in one or more services of NP care without the regulated oversight of a physician.
States that Have Reduced Practice Include:
Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The remaining states that are the least progressive about the autonomy of NPs, restrict one or more healthcare services provided by NPs. Patient care is limited in these states, as treatment may only be provided under higher medical professional consent.
States that Restrict NP Practice Include:
California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The Future for Independent Practice and Nurse Practitioner Care
The number of physicians in the medical field has been declining due to a high number of doctors reaching the age of retirement and fewer professionals entering the medical field. This has increased the demand for Nurse Practitioners in independent clinics, doctor’s offices, and even in hospitals.
Thankfully, NPs have the education and skill set necessary to provide general healthcare services to families in communities where there is a lack of physicians. Autonomy of Nurse Practitioners will allow these key professionals to utilize their skills and knowledge to effectively treat patients and improve the overall access to healthcare services in the nation.
Whether you are looking to enhance your privately owned clinic or are an experienced Nurse Practitioner looking for an exciting new position, NP PA Recruiters is here to help. Trust in our ability to build your practice or jumpstart your career with the efficiency and attention you need.
Contact us today at (214) 351-3880 to learn more about how we can be of service to you. NP PA Recruiters is dedicated to helping you find the perfect candidate or work opportunity.