Dayton signs bill giving some nurses more authority

Some highly-trained nurses in Minnesota will no longer be required to have a physician supervise their work.

Gov. Mark Dayton has signed a bill that gives advanced practice registered nurses the authority to practice independently.

The licensing change, which takes effect Jan. 1, applies to nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and registered nurse anesthetists. That makes Minnesota the ninth state to grant full practice and prescribing autonomy to all four categories of advanced practice nurses.

Mary Chesney, president of the Minnesota Advance Practice Registered Nurse Coalition, said the new law will increase patient access to care and help Minnesota retain highly-trained nurses.

"We really believe that this is an important step for keeping our newly educated APRNs interested in staying in Minnesota and providing care to our citizens," Chesney said.

New advanced practice nursing graduates will be required to work at least 2,080 hours in a hospital or collaborative clinic setting before they qualify for full practice autonomy.

Chesney said the new law will make it easier for Minnesota's 6,374 advance practice registered nurses to work in areas where there is a shortage of physicians.

"It's going to increase access to care because it remove barriers that were keeping some advanced practice registered nurses from being able to practice," she said. "They couldn't practice in areas where there wasn't a physician because they needed to have a physician with whom to collaborate and also to sign their prescriptive agreement."

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