Following opposition efforts from the American Medical Association (AMA) on new policies that allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to practice independently of physician supervision, many nursing groups have expressed upset over the ‘turf war’ between nursing and doctor groups. There are four types of APRN roles: nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, and certified nurse midwife.

According to Forbes.com, “AMA opposes ‘the continual, nationwide efforts to grant independent practice…to non-physician practitioners’ including advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).” AMA, the nation’s largest doctor group, voted at a policy meeting last week in a move designed to combat a national strategy to allow APRNs more direct access to patients.

This new national lobbying strategy from the AMA has been spurred by many states and branches of federal government moving to allow APRNs more direct access to patients without physician supervision. Just last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs granted APRNs direct access to veterans in a landmark decision.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has accused the AMA of perpetuating “the dangerous and erroneous narrative that APRNs are trying to ‘act’ as physicians and are unqualified to provide timely, effective and efficient care,” as reported by Forbes.com.

[APRNs] practice advanced nursing, not medicine, in which they regularly consult, collaborate and refer as necessary to ensure that the patient receives appropriate diagnosis and treatment. For AMA to imply that APRNs are incapable of providing excellent care or that their care puts the patient at risk is blatantly dishonest. The future of health care calls on health care professionals to work together as a team to meet the growing demand for health care services. 

Pamela Cipriano

President, ANA

Nurse groups like ANA and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) have spoken out about the benefits of new state and federal laws that allow direct access as an effort to speed up care to patients. It is part of a larger nationwide move toward value-based care which has also been recognized by government and private insurers who emphasize getting treatment in the right place at the right time, meaning care is often given upfront in a primary care setting where nurses are on the front lines.

To learn more about this ‘turf war’ between doctor and nursing groups debating which health care providers should have direct access to patients, visit here.

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