By: Chase Howard
In March, the Florida Legislature passed multiple bills that would allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to practice independently of physicians in the delivery of primary care practice. The law, however, went into full effect on July 1. Still, the law did not automatically grant autonomous practice to all nurse practitioners. Rather, an application process is still needed, as well as final regulations governing the new law.
In June, the Florida Board of Nursing voted to move forward with the drafting of rules and the application process to be designated as an independent practice Nurse Practitioner. This process usually takes three months to complete before it is open for practitioners to apply. The Board also voted to define “primary care practice” to include “health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, and diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of healthcare settings.”
Until final rules are decided, a nurse practitioner will at least need to meet the following requirements:
- Holds an active, unencumbered licensed;
- Has not been subject to any disciplinary action in any state or jurisdiction within the last 5 years before registration;
- Has completed at least 3,000 clinical practice hours within the last 5 years prior to registration under the supervision of an allopathic or osteopathic physician in the United States.
- Has completed within the past 5 years, 3 graduate level semester hours in pharmacology.
- And any other additional requirements required by rule.
Over the next 90 days, the Board of Nursing will be developing rules for application and registration as independent practice nurse practitioners. Until then, Nurse practitioners in Florida will still require physician supervision in order to practice. Once the Board develops and finalizes rules and procedures for applications, eligible nurse practitioners should familiarize themselves with the other responsibilities provided for under the new law, as well as seek to meet the minimum requirements already established.
With the new definition of primary care practice expanded as stated above, we anticipate nurse practitioners in other specialties to seek autonomous practice as well.