Over the course of 2017, many states have enacted new laws and regulations to increase access to healthcare delivery for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs are nurses with advanced degrees and clinical experience who play a critical role in improving access to healthcare in a wide range of settings. Advanced practice registered nurses include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives.

Susanne J. Philips, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, of the University of California, Irvine, wrote an annual report of legislative development affecting APRN practice, according to Eurekalert.org. Her report describing national efforts to move individual states toward providing full practice authority to APRNS states, “In 2017, over 20 states reported passage of legislation positively impacting access to and delivery of healthcare nationwide.”

Two states in particular have made efforts toward full practice authority: South Dakota and Illinois. Both states have passed laws to expand the scope of practice for APRNs who meet the criteria for training and clinical experience. APRNs now have full autonomous practice and prescribing authority in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Several states have also enacted new laws and regulations on prescribing controlled substances in response to the opioid crisis. California and Oregon have passed legislation to clarify the role of nurse practitioners in prescribing buprenorphine, a medication that helps treat opioid use disorders.

To learn more about new laws enacted in 2017 to increase access to healthcare delivery for APRNs, visit here.

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