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VA Proposes Plan to Grant Full Practice Authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Posted on June 6, 2016 by Disability Help Group

In its ongoing campaign to improve health care services to veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking a rule change to expand its health care staff. The proposed rule would grant all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) full practice authority when working within the scope of their VA healthcare duties.

APRNs can be Certified Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, or Certified Nurse Midwifes and must hold advanced degrees — at least a master’s — and maintain national certification. Their training allows them to provide primary and acute health care, and some roles such as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist may provide specialized care.

By granting APRNs full practice authority, they will now be able to assess a patient and make a diagnosis, prescribe medication, and interpret diagnostic test results. VA hopes this change will allow more veterans to make necessary appointments with qualified health care professionals without waiting for approval by a doctor.

The change is in line with current private sector practices where APRNs already have the full practice authority in many medical facilities. The American Nurses Association voiced its support for the rule change, saying, “This proposal removes barriers that prevent APRNs from providing a full range of services and will assist VA in its ongoing efforts to address staff shortages and improve Veterans’ access to care.”

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