NEW YORK — The Veterans Health Administration is weighing new guidelines that would enable nurse practitioners with advanced education to practice medicine without direct supervision by physicians — a move that is being applauded by the dean of Columbia University School of Nursing.
“This is really a win for patients,” said Bobbie Berkowitz, dean of Columbia University School of Nursing. “At a time when there is a worsening shortage of providers in primary care and in many specialties, advanced practice nurses can help offer patients timely access to quality care. Nurse practitioners absolutely have the education and experience necessary to work without the direct supervision of a physician and to lead teams of healthcare professionals in providing coordinated care.”
The new guidelines being weighed by the VHA, the largest healthcare system in the United States, would let nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and clinical-nurse specialists practice independently.
The proposed policy shift at the VHA system follows recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s “Future of Nursing” report, which advocates that nurses practice to the full scope of their education.