Removing restrictions on nurse practitioners' scope of practice in New York State: Physicians' and nurse practitioners' perspectives

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Abstract

Background and purpose:

In 2015, New York State adopted the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act to remove required written practice agreements between physicians and nurse practitioners (NPs) with at least 3,600 hours of practice experience. We assessed the perspectives of physicians and NPs on the barriers and facilitators of policy implementation.

Methods:

Qualitative descriptive design and individual face-to-face interviews were used to collect data from physicians and NPs. One researcher conducted interviews, which were audio-taped and transcribed. Twenty-six participants were interviewed. Two researchers analyzed the data.

Results:

The new law has not yet changed NP practice. Almost all experienced NPs had written practice agreements. Outdated organizational bylaws, administrators' and physicians' lack of awareness of NP competencies, and physician resistance and lack of knowledge of the law were barriers. Collegial relationships between NPs and physicians and positive perceptions of the law facilitated policy implementation.

Conclusions:

Policy makers and administrators should make efforts to remove barriers and promote facilitators to assure the law achieves its maximum impact.

Implications for practices:

Efforts should be undertaken to implement the law in each organization by engaging leadership, increasing awareness about the positive impact of the law and NP independence, and promoting relationships between NPs and physicians.

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