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Advanced Practice Nurses Battle On for Autonomy

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

"It's not just the APRN community anymore," says Summers. But despite the crescendo of support for widening APRNs' scope of practice, there is still pushback from a few.

"It is coming from almost exclusively from organized medicine," Summers says, meaning medical groups like the AMA and, of course, the Missouri State Medical Association.

But a new study might help to push back the pushback, at least from a physician wage perspective.

The study, from George Washington University's School of Public Health and Health Services, concluded that physician earnings are largely unchanged in states with fewer barriers for APRNs to practice.

Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and published in the journal Nursing Research and Practice, the study used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to compare the earnings of family physicians, general physicians, and pediatricians in states with barriers to APRN practice to the earnings of physicians in states with fewer restrictions. Researchers used earnings of surgeons—who are unlikely to be impacted by nurse practice laws—as a control group.

The researchers found no statistically significant variation in average per-hour earnings for any of the physician groups among the states with differing APRN autonomy laws.

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