Benefits of full practice authority for nurse practitioners

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The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has advocated for full practice authority for nurse practitioners to provide quality, cost-effective healthcare.

As autonomous professionals, nurse practitioners (NPs) can make independent decisions about patient care. It enhances the delivery of efficient and effective healthcare, which the public can more easily obtain.

For NPs to be a cost-effective and flexible provider, they must be able to order and administer their healthcare. Research shows that increased practice authority improves patient outcomes, costs and utilization.

Nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioners are healthcare professionals who work in collaboration with other members of the healthcare team. They provide accessible, quality healthcare services that empower patients and help them live healthier, more self-directed lives.

Nurse practitioners may also be primary providers for some patients or serve as specialty providers in the healthcare system, including roles such as hospitalists. They can practice within hospitals, clinics, community organizations and group practices. 

Nurse practitioner research focuses on rural and underserved populations because they are most likely to experience disparities in healthcare services. NPs practice within a specific scope, and all of them may identify as advanced practice nurses (APNs).

In Kansas, nurse practitioner full practice authority means you can write prescriptions in state-licensed pharmacies. Local universities such as Rockhurst also enable aspiring NPs the chance to earn their degree online, and kick start a career towards serving patients with a greater level of independence and autonomy.

Roles of a nurse practitioner

A nurse practitioner has many roles. These are some of the primary roles of a nurse practitioner:

  • Take care of patients

A nurse practitioner takes care of patients on a local level. They can diagnose and treat common ailments or illnesses and distribute prescription medications to patients. The nurse practitioner can refer to problematic cases if they are unable to help with the condition or disease.

  • Be able to refer patients to specialists

With the assistance of nurses and other medical professionals, nurse practitioners can refer patients to specialists if needed. It can be very beneficial in the case of an emergency in which the patient has no access to a doctor or is unable to get one.

Virtual assistants are AI-powered robots that can remotely communicate with doctors, providing real-time assistance to patients and caregivers. Instead of traveling with a patient from one office to another, VAs allow for telecommunication between doctor and patient without geographical limitations.

  • Choose their modality of treatment

Nurse Practitioners can choose the specific treatment they will use on a patient. It is possible because they are not restricted to any one modality and can instead choose their treatment plan, whether it be medication or acupuncture. They can also refer patients to specialists who can help with more complicated problems.

  • Work alongside physicians

Some nurses will work directly alongside physicians, while others will work independently. The main distinction between these two jobs is that the nurse practitioner can treat many illnesses and injuries without supervision by physicians. 

Their primary job is to ensure that the patient’s recovery goes as smoothly as possible. It is done by assessing the patient’s symptoms and determining how severe their ailment or illness is. An independent nurse practitioner can often be beneficial for patients because they can monitor a patient at home through a video link, which saves time overall.

Nurse practitioners work alongside physicians in many ways. A nurse practitioner may focus more on direct patient care, while a physician is responsible for administering and diagnosing illnesses, injuries, and more intensive procedures such as surgeries and transplants. 

A nurse practitioner can also work with physicians to ensure that a patient’s recovery goes smoothly, regardless of what they do or prescribe. Many different professional guidelines apply to nurse practitioners as well as physicians.

Nurse practitioners work in collaboration with doctors rather than replacing them altogether. It is because they cannot perform surgery, prescribe certain drugs, sign death certificates and perform many other essential tasks that a doctor can do. 

However, they can be great for easing the burden placed on medical professionals responsible for so much more than just diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries.

What is full practice authority for nurse practitioners?

Nurse practitioners provide essential services to patients in hospitals and clinics. They can diagnose and prescribe treatments without needing a doctor’s approval, but they must abide by the rules of their state’s practice act.

Full Practice Authority (FPA) for nurse practitioners is a new program recently approved by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Nurse practitioners are now authorized to treat certain high-risk patients that doctors cannot. 

More specifically, a patient with chronic hepatitis B will be able to see a nurse practitioner who has certification and is trained in one year course of treatment. This is preferable to waiting three years for doctor consultation and referral to receive necessary medical care.

The HHS has authorized nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and non-physician clinicians like certified nurse midwives to provide primary care services. They include diagnosis, management, prevention, treatment or referral for healthcare needs.

How FPA works

Nurses must be able to diagnose and treat patients by competently assessing them. The legislation gives the nurse practitioner full practice authority to do all of this in addition to their clinical nursing tasks.

In short, NPs are autonomous healthcare professionals granted most of the same independent decision-making powers practiced by physicians enjoy. The primary benefit of full practice authority is spending more time with the patient. 

It means that nurses can have more individual conversations with patients, listen to them better, do more work independently and receive quick feedback. Full practice authority also empowers nurses by allowing them to fill in gaps in physician coverage, ultimately opening up opportunities for growth and advancement within the profession.

What FPA Entails

It entails giving nurse practitioners the authority to create their practice without requiring a collaborative agreement with a physician. It also allows nurse practitioners to employ other registered nurses and credentialed technicians.

The role of the nurse practitioner has become more defined in recent years. Their positions are relevant and contribute significantly to healthcare delivery. 

Nurse practitioners provide as good or better outcomes than physicians for many conditions. They also positively impact access to providers, especially in underserved areas and with capped budgets. 

For example, shared appointments between primary care physicians and nurse practitioners have resulted in fewer total visits and higher patient satisfaction scores. It means you could do anything that any other doctor or nurse could. Here are some of the main advantages of the whole practice nurse practitioner:

  • Positive impact on your patient’s health

Patient experience is the key to success. Nurses and other health practitioners must provide a high level of care, and patients should always have the best opportunity for positive healing outcomes. 

The best way to ensure this is by establishing a patient-centered approach emphasizing quality care and optimum patient satisfaction. Patients with positive experiences will likely return often for additional treatments, leading to higher business volumes for your practice.

  • Improved quality of care

Improved quality of care is one of the few benefits of nurse practitioners who have FPA over other practitioners. It enhances quality care by eliminating the need for additional physician visits and procedures, resulting in healthier patients and increased patient satisfaction.

Increased efficiency by taking on more consultative and direct care roles can reduce obstacles to access. It enables nurses to see the patient faster without delay or obstruction from physician referral.

  • A better work-life balance

Rotations are typically 6–12 weeks long, so you will have more time between courses to pursue hobbies or other interests. And, if you are a full-time nurse, research suggests that you could have more time to pursue your hobbies and interests. 

Working as a nurse practitioner gives you the flexibility to work when you want and where you want, which is ideal for people with families who do not have to worry about sacrificing quality time at home to earn more money. 

  • Higher income

Home office nursing and on-call duties provide higher incomes for nurses. Physicians not employed in large hospitals or clinics earned higher incomes when they had the discretion to work at many locations. It is also found that those physicians could provide more care to patients with lower socio-economic status.

  • Improved autonomy of healthcare providers

Nurses will be able to make more decisions on their own without consulting a physician. It is a benefit because it will allow nurses to take responsibility for their actions while not feeling they could have done better with different resources. 

More trust comes from the patient knowing someone is treating them with full authority rather than someone with an unclear role. Positive patient feelings will lead to better care and increased satisfaction. Also, physicians have expressed support for complete control for nurses as it can alleviate some of the pressure on physicians.

  • Greater job satisfaction

Greater job satisfaction is just one of the many benefits of full practice authority for nurse practitioners. Most practices need help to retain and expand their staff. 

As a result, many NPs are choosing to leave practices that offer less involvement. However, working in practice with full practice authority can be immensely rewarding due to the opportunity for greater autonomy and freedom. 

FPA allows nurse practitioners to take on more responsibility and collaborate with colleagues to do what they love: providing excellent care for their patients.

  • Improved patient experience

Improved patient experience is the most significant outcome of an NP’s practice. Full practice authority is the most crucial step to improving patient quality and satisfaction. Nurse practitioners have the skill set and training to deliver comprehensive, cost-effective care.

  • Cost-effective

Nurse practitioners spend a comparatively low amount of time in patient contact. They spend most of their time clinical. Thus, they can deliver care for even the most severely ill patients without incurring additional costs. 

Many of the sickest patients prefer outpatient settings, where nurse practitioners can provide comprehensive care for illnesses that may require hospitalization for other types of providers.

Nurse practitioners have a cost-saving impact on their own time and patients’ medical costs because they avoid using more expensive physician services.

  • Help high-demand communities

Health professionals are usually needed to help underserved populations, and nurse practitioners are no exception. They can deal with chronic illness and prevent it by increasing awareness and creating programs encouraging healthy lifestyles

A nurse practitioner can make a huge difference in a community that needs healthcare but does not have access to it.

  • Better access to medicine

Better access to medicine is a significant issue for individuals worldwide and as a nation. Every illness is a health problem with many undesirable implications, such as loss of productivity, decreased quality of life and higher healthcare costs. 

Nurse practitioners are seeing an increased number of patients who require primary care and can help manage specific conditions such as diabetes. However, they must have full practice authority to see these patients effectively without additional training or outside help.

  • Better access to care 

If given full practice authority, nurse practitioners may be more likely to open and run their clinics, thus reducing the cost of healthcare and allowing for increased access to healthcare services.

Nurse practitioner clinics are more cost-effective if nurse practitioners are the only ones working in them. Nurse practitioners can provide their care with fewer resources and may be more likely to purchase supplies in bulk, thereby reducing healthcare costs. 

In areas with few healthcare professionals, nurse practitioner clinics could provide more services than traditional doctor’s offices.

  • Independence in procedures

One benefit is that nurses will be able to take on more clients with less supervision as independent providers. Also, they have the authority to provide care regardless of their level of training. 

Allowing nurses to provide care independently will offer more options to clients while also lessening their workloads while making them more effective providers.

Additionally, nurses will be able to perform procedures outside their scope with full theoretical and procedural knowledge, which can lead to increased revenue and client satisfaction.

  • Increase workplace productivity

Equal access to drugs and other care is essential, but so is having easy access to medications. When physicians and nurse practitioners had equal access to drugs, it takes a few minutes to prescribe every prescription. 

However, the time increased by nearly an hour for physician assistants. 

  • Better patient safety

Better patient safety is the biggest benefit of having full practice authority for nurse practitioners.

The ability to practice independently outside the scope of their delegation has been shown to provide better patient outcomes.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) take the lead in providing patient care for many people in the US, yet only some states allow them to practice independently. It likely leads to greater availability and improved quality of care.

Nurse practitioners are qualified and prepared to take care of the whole patient. It includes prescribing medications, ordering tests, making diagnoses, and determining other care outside the scope of their delegation.

  • Excellent job outlook

With the baby boomer generation retiring in droves, there will be a huge need for new healthcare providers. Graduate nursing students have an excellent chance of finding a job after graduation with this degree and can increase their job prospects if they pursue fellowships in areas like trauma care or cardiac nursing.

  • Excellent job security

There will always be a need for nurses, especially as the healthcare system in the US continues to reform and become more efficient. The key is ensuring that nurses are available to meet these growing demands. It means ensuring that nursing education continues even as older nurses retire or move on to other professions.

Prescribed substance abuse rehabilitation programs

Prescribed substance abuse rehabilitation programs are in two different ways. One is a relapse prevention program, and the other is a supervised detox program. 

Both programs have very strong evidence of effectiveness in helping patients withdraw from their addictions and helping them maintain sobriety moving forward. However, the main difference between the two programs is their practice and what nurses do during care for these patients. 

The supervised detox program refers to substance abuse specialist nurses and physicians by the term full practice authority. It means the nurse has full practice authority for their job while participating in this rehabilitation process. 

The relapse prevention program refers to nurses and physicians using limited practice authority. Only the nurse has full practice authority for their job while participating in this rehabilitation process.

Final thoughts

FPA has several benefits, including increasing NP autonomy and strengthening the NP’s role within the healthcare team. The move away from preceptorship would eliminate physician supervision in all practice aspects and promote NP autonomy. 

This change would provide better opportunities for NP education, improve the quality of care, and enhance patient safety. Nurse practitioners are an integral part of our healthcare system that need to be more utilized in many areas due to a lack of adequate legislation. 

Implementing full practice authority would allow these professionals more freedom in making healthcare decisions for their patients. It supports the patient-centered medical home model by improving the coordination between members within a region and across regions.

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