Just this month, we shared data from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners indicating that the number of nurse practitioners has grown considerably over the past year, and is expected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Many are likely to gravitate toward urgent care, given this industry’s own continued growth. We’re not the only ones to realize the overall trend for NPs, however. State legislatures from coast to coast are taking a hard look at how independently NPs can—and should—work from physicians in clinical practice. Twenty-two states, plus Washington DC and two U.S. territories, allow advanced registered nurse practitioners to work independently of physicians. Florida is considering joining them, as its House Health Care Quality Subcommittee conducts hearings to decide whether allowing less physician oversight of NPs will help increase access to healthcare. According to an article published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, proponents of allowing less oversight complain that Florida is behind the curve compared with other states, especially when it comes to patients who live in underserved rural areas. Opponents of loosening the regulations regarding oversight say there won’t be much benefit because NPs are unlikely to focus on rural areas anyway, in favor of areas already saturated with physician groups. Regardless of which way Florida tips, the fact remains that NPs are going to be more prevalent in the urgent care center. That has spurred discussion of providing urgent care-specific training. Read more about that in The Case for an Interprofessional, Postgraduate NP/PA Fellowship in Urgent Care in our archive.
More States Are Asking: How Much Oversight Do NPs Really Need?