April 24, 2017
Nurse practitioners seek to expand scope of care
Nurse practitioners are headed to Albany Tuesday to advocate for two pieces of legislation that would expand their scope of practice. One bill, which has yet to be introduced, would allow nurse practitioners to oversee a facility's use of a defibrillator. The other (A. 7277/S. 1869), which the Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State has been pushing for years, would allow nurse practitioners to execute do-not-resuscitate orders.
It's particularly important for nurse practitioners who work in nursing homes, where a physician is not always on hand to sign off on the decision not to resuscitate a patient, said Stephen Ferrara, associate dean of clinical affairs at the Columbia University School of Nursing and executive director of the Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State. "Unfortunately, if a patient were to stop breathing or their heart stopped, we would have to initiate CPR, even knowing they don't want that," he said. Slowly, regulations are changing to lift barriers for nurse practitioners, Ferrara said. For instance, the state recently changed the rules so they could certify patients for medical marijuana without a physician's approval.
The bill allowing nurse practitioners to execute do-not-resuscitate orders passed the state Senate last year, but did not make it out of the Higher Education Committee in the Assembly. This year, it was introduced by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and routed to the Health Committee. —C.L.