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Will state officials allow Texas NPs to practice independently?

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) can provide a wide range of services for patients. In many cases, NPs and other nursing professionals are not able to apply the full extent of their training due to the confines of federal and state regulations. Texas NPs are pushing back against these regulations and attempting to Full Practice Authority (FPA).

What does this mean?

Lawmakers are considering a piece of legislation that would allow nurses who meet certain qualifications to practice independently. Qualifications required by the board currently part of the proposal include:

· Trained. Under the proposal as currently written, only NPs, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists are allowed to receive the ability to practice independently.

· Experienced. To receive approval, each applicant must establish they practiced a minimum of 2,080 hours under a physician.

Interested nurses would then apply with the nursing board to receive this designation. If approved, the nurse could then order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, treat health problems and prescribe certain medications.

Nurses that are interested in this designation are wise to keep an eye on the progress of this proposal. We will provide updates as they become available.

What could hinder a nurse's chances at receiving this designation?

The first hurdle involves meeting the criteria noted above. Additional problems can be present if the nurse is currently under investigation by the licensing board. Nurses in this situation are wise to take notification of an investigation seriously and contact legal counsel for guidance.

Should a nurse take anything else into consideration before applying for the ability to practice independently?

The increased responsibilities present with this designation will likely come with increased liabilities. As such, it may be wise to discuss the impact of this designation with an attorney experienced in nursing matters before choosing to move forward with an application.

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