More Than Half of States Now Allow Full Practice for Nurse Practitioners – Where Indiana Stands
Indianapolis, Indiana -
Nurse practitioners are primary care health care providers in communities across the country along with physicians and physician assistants. Depending on the state where they practice, a nurse practitioner may be allowed to independently prescribe medications, make an official diagnosis, or legally perform other medical tasks. Those restrictions or freedoms are called Scope of Practice and they can be one of three general groups: Full Practice, Reduced Practice, or Restricted Practice.
In April of 2022, both Kansas and New York signed laws making them Full Practice states regarding nurse practitioners, bringing the total to 26 states. Indiana is currently considered a Reduced Practice state, where all nurse practitioners must have a collaboration agreement on file with a supervising physician. Is Indiana next?
Nurse practitioners are considered Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) and can have a master's degree (MSN) or a doctorate degree (DNP). They also hold nationally recognized certification in a specialty, such as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) or an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP). All nurse practitioner programs are designed to prepare graduates for full practice authority, regardless of which state the program is based.
Indiana has previously introduced legislation to change the Reduced Practice authority to Full Practice authority. A bill was progressed in 2019 (2019 Senate Bill 343), passing in the Senate, but was pulled from a vote in the House. Other bills since then have sought to allow APRNs to perform currently restricted services (ex - 2021 House Bill 1399), but not change the Scope of Practice entirely.
Similar to the rest of the country, Indiana has a shortage in the health care sector. Indiana passed a law on March 10, 2022 to help address the shortage of nurses, making it easier for foreign nursing school graduates to earn licensure and helping nursing schools hire faculty to train more new nurses. It did not address APRNs and the shortage of primary care providers.
But nursing schools are working to address the shortage of primary health care providers by expanding their offerings for nurse practitioners - and training them to be ready for full practice primary care duties. The University of Indianapolis has recently expanded its educational offerings to include online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees for nurse practitioners, alongside online Doctor or Nursing (DNP) degrees.
For more information, visit https://onlinenursing.uindy.edu/online-programs/msn.
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