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New York just became the latest state to grant full practicing authority to nurse practitioners—meaning, if you include the District of Columbia, that NPs now have this distinction in more than half of the United States plus the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), full practice means that NPs are allowed to evaluate patients; diagnose, order, and interpret diagnostic tests; and initiate and manage treatments (such as by prescribing medications, including controlled substances). Reduced practice, the limits of which NPs are bound by in 14 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa, means that state practice and licensing laws reduce the ability of NPs to engage in at least one element of NP practice. Restricted practice in the remaining 11 states allows NPs to engage in at least one element of NP practice, though state law requires career-long supervision, delegation, or team management by another healthcare provider for the NP to provide patient care. Given the growing role of NPs in the urgent care center—especially in the context of staffing shortages—it would be wise to keep current with where your state falls. If you’re not current, check the AANP website.

Nurse Practitioners Continue to Expand Their Practice Authority. What Does It Mean for Urgent Care?