NAPNAP Issues Updated Statement on Nurse Practitioner Prescribing Privileges

NAPNAP Issues Updated Statement on Nurse Practitioner Prescribing Privileges
Call for full prescriptive authority and dispensing privileges.

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) has revised its position statement on nurse practitioner prescriptive privileges. The statement, which was previously revised in 2010, was published in the May/June issue of the Journal for Pediatric Health Care.

“To best serve our patients, ensure safety and medication compliance, we must have full prescriptive authority and dispensing privileges,” said NAPNAP President Laura Searcy, MN, APRN, PPCNP-BC. “It makes no sense to have an extra step of requiring a physician who has had no interaction with the patient to sign off on a prescription. The sign-off is an unnecessary time delay and does not improve patient outcomes.

“We advocate for transparent delivery of health care services,” Searcy added. “Nurse practitioners must be allowed to use their National Provider Identifier (NPI) number, Drug Enforcement Agency number and controlled substance licenses. We are academically, professionally and experientially prepared to have our names on prescription pads and dispensed medication bottles.”

In its updated position statement, NAPNAP reaffirms its stance that nurse practitioners should have full prescriptive authority as appropriate based on education, training, licensure and professional certification. It further notes that the ability of nurse practitioners to prescribe, without limitation, enhances patient care by promoting greater continuity and efficiency of care, increasing cost-effectiveness, and augmenting safety and accountability. In a time when more consumers are seeking access to health care, it is essential to not impose unnecessary barriers on prescriptive privileges, Searcy said.

NAPNAP serves pediatric-focused nurse practitioners by providing the Food and Drug Administration’s latest evidenced-based information on a wide spectrum of medications indicated for children, adolescents and teens at its in-person and online pediatric pharmacology courses. These courses emphasize thoughtful analysis of the pediatric patient’s symptoms and history and judicious prescribing practices for everything from common antibiotics to less commonly prescribed narcotics.

While alarmist opposition to nurse practitioner prescribing cites the need to curb opioid abuse, no studies demonstrate that limiting nurse practitioner prescribing and dispensing privileges leads to less prescription drug abuse in our country. In fact, several studies demonstrate that nurse practitioners have been prescribing medications for years as part of their providing safe, cost-effective health care.

NAPNAP remains committed to pursuing the vision that all children will have access to quality pediatric-centric health care delivered by nurse practitioners with full authority to prescribe and manage their patients’ health care needs.

To view the position statement, visit jpedhc.org. 

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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,500 healthcare practitioners with 17 special interest groups and 49 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused APRNs and their interprofessional partners to enhance child and family health through leadership, advocacy, professional practice, education and research. www.NAPNAP.org