Nurses’ ability to provide primary care is “hampered by the constraints of outdated policies, particularly those involving nurses’ scopes of practice.”
Advanced practice RNs (APRNs) and other skilled providers are hampered by outdated regulations and laws that keep them from practicing to the fullest extent of their education and training.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a 2011 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report noted that nurses’ ability to provide primary care is “hampered by the constraints of outdated policies, particularly those involving nurses’ scopes of practice.” The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, is a joint initiative by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP to address this issue. This campaign has made major gains in its efforts in its first two years.
- The Campaign for Action will continue its efforts at the federal and state levels to help expand access to care and implement specific recommendations set forth by the IOM.
- So far, five states fully conform to the APRN Consensus Model allowing APRNs to prescribe medications, order tests, and sign treatment forms. Five more states have passed legislation in 2012 to move them closer to the Consensus Model in an effort to reduce state-by-state variations in regulations.
As new changes in the health care system take place, and 32 million Americans will gain insurance coverage in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, maximizing the use of APRNs is happening at a time when the demand for skilled providers is increasing.