This is wonderful news for nurse practitioners.

~Michael and Frida Donner

In 2014, the national media reported on long waits for new patients at VA hospitals, with some patients waiting as long as 51 days. As a result, a new rule from the Department of Veterans Affairs takes effect this month, which allows advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to take on some of the duties currently reserved for VA doctors. Consequently, wait times will be reduced. Since the VA is the nation’s largest employer of nurses, this has significant impact on the nursing profession as a whole. As of July 2016, its workforce of approximately 93,500 nurses (RNs, LPNs, NAs), includes approximately 5,769 APRNs.

“Advanced practice registered nurses are valuable members of VA’s health care system,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Amending this regulation increases our capacity to provide timely, efficient, effective and safe primary care, aids VA in making the most efficient use of APRN staff capabilities, and provides a degree of much needed experience to alleviate the current access challenges that are affecting VA.”

Three of the four APRN roles at the VA are included in this rule:
  • Certified nurse practioners
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Certified nurse midwives
The final rules:

First, set forth the professional qualifications an individual must possess to be appointed as an APRN within VA. Second, establish the criteria under which VA may grant full practice authority to an APRN. Third, define the scope of full practice authority for each of the three roles.

Read more the impact of this rule visit the article on Forbes.

Barco’s Nightingales Foundation is pleased to learn that APRNs are being accepted and utilized to the full extent of their education and training. This acceptance helps bring healthcare to more people in need.