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Advanced Practice Nurses Battle On for Autonomy

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, April 3, 2012

As advanced practice nurses gain ground in their battle for autonomy, the Missouri State Medical Association has taken a firm stand against APRN's independent practice authority.

In March, a California appeals court ruled that certified registered nurse anesthetists in that state do not need physician supervision to do their jobs. But it's a tough fight.

Just a month earlier, in a Legislative Report, the MSMA described a "gaggle" of nurse practitioners who who were waiting to make their case in front of the state legislature. The report's author said that these nurses "flooded" the Senate hearing room "like 12-year olds at a Justin Bieber concert."

"I work so hard to try to take the high road," says Lisa Summers, CNM, DrPH, Senior Policy Fellow in the Department of Nursing Practice and Policy at the American Nurses Association. She says she wants to talk about the data when discussing APRNs' autonomy, not revert to turf battles and name-calling.

"Comparing us to 12-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert?" she asks rhetorically, a note of incredulity in her voice.

So in this column, I, too, will take the high road. Instead of talking about things like misogyny and disrespect, I will simply talk about two new advances for APRNs' practice autonomy: incentives from the government for hospitals to train APRNs and a new study showing that physician wages aren't affected by APRNs' autonomy.

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