This report builds on the findings from the 2010 study, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," from NAM (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine). In the newly released report, NAM recognized the progress made over the last decade and ways COVID-19 has underscored for everyone the continued impact that racism, poverty and inadequate investment in communities have on the health of our nation. The report, edited by Mary K. Wakefield, David R. Williams, Suzanne Le Menestrel and Jennifer L. Flaubert, renews NAM's previous recommendation that "All organizations, including state and federal entities and employing organizations, should enable nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training by removing barriers that prevent them from more fully addressing social needs and social determinants of health and improving health care access, quality, and value."
"Since the 2010 report was released, nine states and two U.S. territories have modernized their licensure laws to enable NPs to practice to the full extent of their education and clinical training, bringing the total number of states with Full Practice Authority to 23, in addition to the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. NPs stand ready to dramatically expand access to care and strengthen health care equity for the remaining states if granted the regulatory authority," said AANP President Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP. "We commend NAM for recognizing the urgency of this moment and implore federal and state authorities to permanently authorize NPs to work at the top of their profession — including, payment parity for all services delivered to patients."
NPs and the nursing community are well-positioned to meet the need to increase health equity, expand access to care and address social determinants of health. As of March 2021, more than 80 million Americans live in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Additionally, according to a 2018 report produced by UnitedHealth Group, authorizing Full Practice Authority for NPs nationwide would increase health care access for approximately 31 million people living in primary care HPSAs. The NAM report reinforces that NPs must be granted autonomy and institutional authority to achieve these goals.
"Every patient, regardless of race, ethnicity, means or geography, deserves access to high-quality health care," said Jon Fanning, CEO, AANP. "It's time for our nation to empower the NP workforce, invest in and achieve the promise of health equity for all. AANP pledges its continued commitment to end health disparities and improve health care access."
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 325,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs' patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate an NP in your community, go to npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org. For COVID-19 information from AANP, visit https://bit.ly/2UFPhgz.