With state-by-state variations in nurse practitioners’ ability to independently prescribe medications, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) recognizes the significance of continued advocacy to remove barriers to nurse practitioners’ (NPs) practice authority and dispensing privileges. Based on the level of education, training, licensure, and certification required, nurse practitioners are well equipped to prescribe medication, without limitation, to enhance patient care and improve health outcomes.
By removing restrictions on nurse practitioners’ prescriptive authority, there is the opportunity to promote greater continuity and efficiency of care, increasing cost-effectiveness and augmenting safety and accountability. Current restrictions inhibit transparency in patients’ health care and limit nurse practitioners from providing well-rounded and accessible care.
“Nurse practitioner educational programs prepare students for advanced clinical assessment, management and independent clinical decision-making,” said NAPNAP President Jennifer Sonney, PhD, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN. “With a curriculum that includes advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and management of pediatric illness or disease, nurse practitioners are rigorously prepared to promote patient care and quality outcomes, including prescribing medications.”
Nurse practitioners must continue to advocate for provider inclusive language in legislation at the state and national levels, including language in all states’ nurse practice acts and amendments that clearly and specifically include diagnosis, treatment, and prescriptive authority within an NP’s scope of practice. NAPNAP believes that all NPs must obtain a National Provider Identifier number, Drug Enforcement Agency number, and controlled substance license for transparency and accountability. It is important for NPs to have the ability to e-prescribe and have their name on prescription pads to better serve their patients. With continued advocacy and effective collaboration, NPs working in states that prohibit full prescriptive authority will hopefully see positive statutory and regulatory changes so they can provide complete and comprehensive high-quality health care for their patients.
The position statement, including additional recommendations, is published in the January/February edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed here.
Jan. 26, 2023