Scope of practice and patient’s healthcare accessibility
State boards of nursing regulate the scope of practice of NPs. The scope defines what healthcare services NPs may provide. The scope of practice allows NPs to independently diagnose, treat, prescribe, and order diagnostic testing. However, state laws and regulations can limit their authority to practice.
Some states have NPs with full practice authority. This means they are able to work alone and offer healthcare services without physician supervision. Alaska, Arizona Colorado Hawaii Idaho Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Mexico North Dakota Oregon Rhode Island South Dakota Utah Vermont Washington Wyoming and the District of Columbia are some of these states.
In some states, NPs are restricted in their practice authority. They must also have some degree of supervision, physician collaboration, and oversight. These oversights may be necessary for prescriptions, diagnosis and treatment of certain conditions or the ordering of specific diagnostic tests. Each state has its own requirements.
The scope of practice for NPs varies from one state to the next. It is therefore important that NPs are familiar with state laws and regulations. To ensure that state regulations are followed and provide high-quality care, collaboration with healthcare professionals such as physicians may be required.