To Be Or Not To Be... Autonomous
I'm sitting here at work, trying to figure out what to write about today. As I ruminate, I realize what a great team of people I work with every day and this reminds me of an assignment I recently completed for class. The question proposed for class was, "Do physicians work autonomously?"
As I wrote the assignment it made me think about nurse practitioners and our battle for autonomy in healthcare.
Each state has different laws governing the rights and practices of nurse practitioners. Some states have a collaborative agreement with a physician to practice, but there are states that ARNPs can work independently without physician guidance or supervision. This state level jurisdiction and regulation makes changes difficult and time consuming for advocates and collaborative organizations (like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners).
ARNPs are given the knowledge and training to work independently, but are limited by laws created by politicians sitting in an office. Most of these politicians have no medical training or experience. They do not understand all our hard work, education and dedication to both nursing and medicine. Does anyone in healthcare actually work independently? We learn as fledgling nurses how important each member of the interdisciplinary team is and value their input. It would be thought that physicians, at the top of the healthcare hierarchy, work independently. While physicians do make many important decisions on their own, physicians also discuss and collaborate with their peers and nurses.
It is going to take a concerted effort of all ARNPs to help our profession move forward and earn autonomy in practice. Just because we have autonomy does not mean we won't pool resources with physicians, but we can make more patient specific collaborations.
I challenge you as we move forward in this journey to become ARNPs....what are you going to do to help our profession move forward? What is your platform going to be? How are you going to make changes that will benefit the whole? What's your collaboration going to be?