Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1995


Nursing and organized medicine are engaged in a heated and emotional debate over independent prescriptive privileges for advanced practice nurses. Uncontroverted data demonstrates that nurse practitioners provide high quality health care at a reduced cost, while increasing access to health care for under-served populations. It is apparent that advanced practice nurses could improve the delivery of American health care. However, organized medicine is opposed to autonomous advanced nursing practice and lobbies powerfully against it. Currently, the majority of state laws and regulations pertaining to advanced practice nursing do not promote a sound public health policy, do not contemplate liability issues and do not forestall fruitless litigation. Part I of this Article describes the background of expanded nursing practice and regulation. Part II examines the policy considerations of advanced practice nurses (“APNs”) prescribing treatment. Part III reviews applicable liability issues and evaluates varying theories of state regulation. Part IV analyzes the political and statutory obstacles to nurses' prescribing medications. This Article concludes by recommending legislation and regulation authorizing autonomous prescriptive privileges for advanced practice nurses



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