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STATE | ASPS Takes a Strong Stance Against APRN Independent Practice

Legislatures across the country are considering bills that would inappropriately expand the scope of practice of Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) by essentially permitting them to step into the role of primary care physicians. ASPS is working with coalition partners all over the country to counteract this trend by educating lawmakers about the serious patient safety concerns it poses. This winter ASPS has advocated in nine states against nurse scope expansion, including Arizona, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. State and regional plastic surgery societies also are aiding in these efforts.

APRN's argue increasing their practice parameters increases access to care in rural areas. However, studies based on extensive mapping of the practice locations of mid-level providers across the country have shown APRNs work in the same practice areas as physicians. Consequently, increasing nurse practitioner scope of practice does not correlate to increased access to care in underserved communities. Further, authorizing APRNs to independently practice represents a dangerous expansion of the APRN's role in patient care that will ultimately be detrimental to a physician-centered, team-based health care delivery model. This erosion of the team-based health care model will negatively impact patient quality outcomes.

ASPS and its state and regional partners will continue to aggressively engage on this issue in state legislatures across the country.