Nurse practitioners call on state to ease regulations to help more patients

Many nurse practitioners in Alabama say changes to state regulations is something they would appreciate.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:44 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 7:52 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s Nurse Practitioner Appreciation Week, but many of those in Alabama say changes to state regulations is something they would appreciate.

It takes a driven, decisive man or woman with a master’s degree to be a nurse practitioner.

“I can diagnose, treat, and prescribe,” said Leigh Anne Luna, a certified registered nurse practitioner.

Luna says many people don’t know the difference between a registered nurse and an NP. A nurse practitioner can, at times, take the place of a doctor.

“We are creating more access to healthcare, particularly in rural communities where people don’t have to drive 40, 50, in some cases even 100 miles to see a healthcare provider,” said Joyce Davis, former president of Alabama’s Nurse Practitioner Alliance.

Davis says NPs could help even more patients. If regulations allowed them more leeway when working in the absence of a collaborating doctor.

“In rural communities, there needs to be more autonomy for nurse practitioners because there are limited physicians to collaborate with,” said Luna.

However, Luna admits, nurse practitioners who are new to the field should still be subject to a doctor’s supervision.

“I do feel that new nurse practitioners, that are right out of school, I feel like they need that guidance for a year or two out of school,” said Luna.

Davis says altering the collaboration agreements would provide more work for NPs and would encourage more of them to stay in Alabama.

Davis also says the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama is currently working with legislators on the issue.

To learn more about the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama, click here.

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