Currently in the state of Missouri, there are two bills trying to pass that would allow Advanced-practice nurses the authority to prescribe controlled substances without physician oversight and proved anesthesia without physical oversight. Advanced-practice nurses are a group that includes nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives.
What are our citizens thinking? This is very frightening and people need to be made aware and educate themselves with what is happening. Nurses are trained with a very limited diagnosing and prescribing skill. And yes, there are some that will argue that advanced-practice nurses are of the “graduate level” and “by 2015, they must have a Doctor of Nursing certificate,” but what bullshit. Does anyone actually support this? What makes a nurse, a nurse, mind you, qualified to prescribe medication over a doctor who has been in training for their profession for 6+ years? Not only that, but this bill would remove the State Board for the Healing Arts as the supervisory agency for collaborative practice arrangement and places it all under the Missouri State Board of Nursing. Better yet, I say if you can read, you should be allowed to prescribe medications now, too.
When I first started seeing a psychiatrist, I was deferred to a FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner). That FNP prescribed me medications, which I did not take until I insisted that I be transferred back to a M.D. Upon my evaluation of each, the FNP spoke to me almost in a scripted manner. Every time she interjected one of my thoughts or statements, I felt as though she was reading from a textbook. When I spoke to the M.D. it seemed as though everything flowed easily and nothing seemed forced or that she needed to say a certain thing. To top it off, the M.D. didn’t really like the prescriptions that the FNP put me on, so I had to switch.
My point with this rant is that whether you are a advanced-practice nurse or a nurse practitioner or a registered nurse, you are still a nurse. If you want all the respect and the duties of a doctor, by all means, please go to medical school, pull out student loans in the $100,000’s, take the Boards and then we’ll talk. But please, don’t look for an excuse and an easy way out that you’re “helping the healthcare system by providing innovative means of care” and filling the void of a “growing physician shortage.”