April 23, 2019
Scope of Practice: A Hot Debate

Scope of Practice: A Hot Debate

by Berkeley Wellness  

The American Medical Association (AMA) and some other physician groups have consistently opposed the idea of advanced practice registered nurses treating patients independently, without direct physician oversight, citing concern for patients’ welfare. It released a statement in 2016 criticizing the VA's plan (then only a proposal) to allow these nurses to practice independently in its medical centers, regardless of state law, arguing that “physician-led, team-based care” is the best model for caring for veterans and other people.

The AMA has formed a Scope of Practice Partnership with the American Osteopathic Association, national medical societies, and state medical boards that states as its goal “the protection of the health and safety of patients whose well-being may be threatened by health care practitioners who lack the education, training or experience to perform procedures for which they seek licensure or recognition.”

Nurses’ associations in turn have accused the AMA of perpetuating a turf war—putting “the profits of its physician membership ahead of patients and their access to high-quality health care,” as a 2017 statement from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners put it.