Why is full practice authority needed?

Oklahoma ranks 49th in physician-to-patient ratio, with one physician for every 1,250 Oklahomans. Sixty-four of Oklahoma’s counties are designated primary care health professional shortage areas. Our state needs more primary care providers, and nurse practitioners have the education and training to meet that need.

How will full practice authority increase access?

Some nurse practitioners pay thousands of dollars each month to doctors who sign collaborative agreements, even though those doctors typically do not see a NPs patients or review their charts. That unnecessary overhead expense is a barrier to opening new clinics or hiring additional staff. Studies have even shown that NPs are more likely to work in rural areas.

Additionally, state law dictates that one physician can only sign agreements with two NPs. This places a hard cap on the number of NPs who can work in Oklahoma.

Does full practice authority put patients at risk?

No, full practice authority does not put patients at risk. Nurse practitioners are already treating patients in communities across the state. Full practice authority simply removes a financial burden from the occupation. Nurse practitioners are still overseen and regulated by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing.

26 states and the District of Columbia have already done away with the requirement for collaborative agreements, yet Oklahoma remains one of the most restrictive states in the U.S. In these other states, there is no health care crisis because NPs have full-practice authority. In fact, the vast majority of the top 25 states in national health rankings are state’s that employ full practice authority for NPs.

What medical services can an NP provide?

Nurse practitioners can meet many health needs. NPs can provide preventative care, such as managing high blood pressure or diabetes. They can treat illnesses such as colds, flus and pneumonia. They can also treat injuries like lacerations and broken bones. Just like a general practice physician, nurse practitioners are trained to know when to direct a patient to a specialist or an emergency room.

What are the advantages to seeing a nurse practitioner?

The nation is facing a shortage of general practice physicians, particularly in rural areas. Nurse practitioners offer an obvious solution to fill this gap. Studies show that, on average, nurse practitioners spend more time with individual patients and are a more cost-effective solution to many health care needs.