The Worst States for NP Practice
Recently I've been seeing more articles in major magazines such as Forbes talking about NPs. This is awesome since it has taken us a long time to truly get recognized! However, not all articles showcase the positive aspects of being a NP and while doing some research I found an article in Business Insider which was recently published titled "The 10 worst states to be a nurse practitioner." You can access the entire article by clicking here.
The article speaks on the ten worst states to work as a NP due to restricted scope of practice laws. If you're not familiar with scope of practice it basically determines at the state level what NPs can and cannot do within that state. There are three types of scope of practice; full, reduced, and restricted. Barton Associates makes an excellent scope of practice chart which you can view here. As you can see, states in the south have significantly more restricted scope of practice than states in other parts of the country.
I've worked in both full practice and reduced practice states, and I could definitely sense the difference in my scope while in these positions. One state I can sign death certificates, another I need to have a collaborating physician. This makes it very confusing for providers, and really affects patients access to care.
Unfortunately, restricted or reduced scope of practice does not only affect how NPs practice, but also affects those who need access to care. Hopefully one day all states will have a full scope of practice. NPs will be able to practice within the full scope of their training, and patients, especially those in rural areas, will be able to have access to quality care. It's a win-win situation.