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Indiana Lawmakers Hear Testimony On Expanding Role Of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Indiana Statehouse.
Indiana Statehouse.

Lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday about allowing nurses in Indiana to treat patients independently. It’s an issue lawmakers have explored for the past few years.

In Indiana, advanced practice registered nurses or APRNs have to operate within a doctor’s practice. The push to allow independent practice is offered as a way to address the shortage of health care professionals says Tay Kopanos, with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

“This is a way we can improve health care choice and options for people around the country,” Kopanos says.

But doctors have pushed back on this notion. Dr. William Kobler, a member of the American Medical Association, showed a map that indicates APRNs in states that have opened up practice, don’t go to rural areas. 

“Both tend to practice in the same large urban areas,” Kobler says.

There are 22 states that allow APRN’s full practice authority. 

Kopanos says other states have studied the success of such measures.

“Researchers concluded that the outcomes of care for APRN’s was similar to the care for physicians providing that type of service,” Kopanos says. 

Doctors in Indiana have pushed back on expanding independent practices saying registered nurses don’t have the needed training.

This post was produced by Indiana Public Broadcasting, a statewide collaborative covering Indiana news. Contact Jill at jsheridan@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @JillASheridan.

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