Despite evidence that advanced practice registered nurses improve outcomes and access to care, the American Medical Association calls for strategic opposition to APRN independent practice.
In May 2015, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing introduced the licensure model called the APRN Compact. The model would allow advanced practice registered nurses to have one multistate license that provides the ability to practice in all compact states. The compact will go into effect when 10 states have enacted legislation.
So the American Medical Association's November 2017 resolution to create a strategic campaign to oppose legislation that includes the APRN Compact model and independent practice is perplexing.
Thus far, Idaho, North Dakota, and Wyoming have passed legislation in favor of the compact while Nebraska and West Virginia have legislation pending.
The idea of the APRN Compact makes sense. I am not an APRN, but when I worked in telehealth, I had to maintain multiple licenses—California and New York in addition to my Illinois license.
The process of applying for multiple licenses is time-consuming and cumbersome because each state has different requirements. Maintaining multiple licenses is a feat as well since each state has different continuing education requirements and different renewal time frames.
And, as I wrote about in the June HealthLeaders magazine, APRNs Improve Quality Outcomes, Cost of Care, decades of evidence shows that both APRNs and physician assistants produce quality outcomes similar to or better than physicians.
In this changing healthcare industry where technology has the potential to improve access to a healthcare provider, healthcare professionals need flexibility to efficiently work across state-lines. The APRN Compact would help APRNs provide high-quality care and improve patient outcomes in a larger geographic setting.
Nursing Groups Speak Out
The amendment to the AMA's resolution 214 occurred at the organization's Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates on November 11–13 in Honolulu.
According to its website, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, pushed for the resolution to engage "the entire house of medicine in a strategic initiative to oppose the efforts of non-physicians at the state and federal level to dismantle physician-led team-based models of care and, specifically, to oppose the harmful Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) Compact."
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.