The Senate recently took some much-needed steps to address the lack of sufficient health-care professionals recently with the passing of the Nurse Practitioner Bill. It hopes to encourage more nurses to pursue programs that foster leadership in nursing among others. It is also seen as a generally good thing for advanced nurse practitioners, granting them more independence from doctor oversight, in a sense. Previously, as a nurse practitioner, you were required to practice only with doctors by way of written agreement, which reduced the number of available health-care providers in underserved areas – as well as limited the opportunities for qualified nurses in those same areas where there was a shortage of doctors. As for the major revisions instituted by the Nurse Practitioner bill:
- The top function of the Nurse Practitioner bill is to foster role expansion for qualified nurses. It ensures that nurse practitioners no longer require a doctor’s supervision when one isn’t available to prescribe medications after diagnosing a patient, and also to set up[ treatment plans. This has the aim of ratcheting up healthcare options in chronically underserved regions. Before the passing of Senate Bill 491, there were too many patients in such areas that remain sick, get sicker or worse because of the lack of doctors, even when nurses who have been trained to handle the relevant problems were available.
- The stripping away of barriers will reduce the wait time for many patients, who sometimes need to wait three or more months to fit into the schedule of their primary-care doctor for a routine checkup. Nurse practitioners are advanced health-care providers with the ability to handle many of these kinds of patients just as efficiently and comprehensively as doctors, and the Nurse Practitioner Bill allows them to forego the affiliate agreement and supervision that was previously necessary. Post-care patients no longer need to risk health problems as a result of long wait times to see their initial specialist.
- There are objections to the newfound lack of supervision, with some doctors stating that nurse practitioners may not be equipped to deal with some of the injuries and ailments doctors regularly deal with. The Nurse Practitioner Bill has a provision addressing those concerns in the Business and Professions Code section, which states that the nurse license renewal may be revoked or suspended in cases of gross negligence or incompetence on the nurse’s part.
- In cases of prescription drugs, SB 491 allows the nurse practitioner to prescribe them in several distinct cases: to help maintain the patient’s health for up to 72 hours until the primary care physician returns and the drugs themselves were prescribed for the purpose of maintenance. Otherwise, clinical competency must have been established for the class of drugs being administered. Additionally, the nurse practitioner must have consulted with the patient’s RN or other qualified healthcare provider and reviewed the medical records before being able to legally administer the drug.
- SB 409 now allows nurse practitioners to order medical equipment and certify disability without the supervision of a doctor. Indeed; you can now employ your nurse practitioner status to analyze medical data and devise alternative methods to a preexisting health treatment program. The option of referring patients to other healthcare providers facilitates the drive to better levels of care overall.
These are just the most pertinent new abilities granted by the Nurse Practitioner Bill. Although there are several others spread out into five sections, they all point to the same general thing: expanding the role of qualified nurse practitioners to make healthcare more widely available.