VA Grants Advance Practice Registered Nurses Full Practice Authority
To continue its efforts in expanding the availability and timeliness of medical care, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is granting full practice authority to Advance Practice Registered Nurses. These nurses underwent education for primary, acute, and specialty care and carry advanced degrees.
Under the new ruling, Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) can practice up to the limitations of their education without consulting a doctor.
Allowing the VA’s 5,700+ APRNs to expand their practice will help more veterans obtain the care they need more quickly. These professionals will be able to provide primary health care to veterans without a physician’s supervision or approval. The VA expects this change in permissions to allow more veterans to access basic care from APRNs, freeing up physicians and specialists to work on patients with more critical needs.
One caveat to the APRN promotion is Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). The VA will not include them in the full practice authority.
The APRN program goes into effect on January 13, 2017; the VA is taking comments on CRNA inclusion until that date. CRNA inclusion is dependent on finding there is a need for more anesthetists or other unconsidered circumstances warranting the need for their full practice permission.
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