In May 2016 VA announced the proposed law to allow full practice authority to APRNs to practice full extent of their education, training, and qualifications. The health of our veterans who have come back from war injured either physically or mentally is becoming increasingly a matter of utmost importance. This is necessitated by the increasing shortage of care-givers across the country which leads to long waiting times for appointments by the veterans (Algire, & Martyn, 2013). The possibility of having nursing practitioners chip in and provide the services is being suggested and debated by the department of veterans’ affairs.
The proposed rule aims to give full practice to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) taking care of the veterans to allow them to administer anesthesia and anesthesia-related care, without physician oversight. This will allow the nurses provide consultation, ordering and evaluating tests and respond to situations such as airway management (Bedford, & Ellis, 2013). This will greatly reduce the waiting times for the veterans and make use of the expertise of the APRNs says Juan Quintana The president of the American association of nurse anesthetics. The department of defense already allows CRNAs to work without physician supervision.
The VA is likely to attract a large pool of APRNs who are committed if they engage the nurses, and this would address the gaps in access to health care in remote rural areas. Some veterans suffer from chronic diseases which makes them require constant medical care. These laws will give the nurses the capacity to provide health care in an effective, timely and safe way.
APRN is not the same as medical care provided by medical doctors but this does not mean it is of lesser value. Research shows that APRN is safe and effective and also yields high patient satisfaction (Algire, & Martyn, 2013). While physician groups insist that nurses are not qualified enough to administer treatments to veterans, there’s no evidence to support this claims and goes ahead to say that the same doctors avoid operating on front lines in the battle field and this where anesthesia and emergency services are most needed.
Algire, M., & Martyn, D. (2013). Enhancing emergency nurses’ knowledge of veterans health needs. J. Emerg. Nurs, 39:570–576.
Bedford, M., & Ellis, C. (2013). Developing nursing curriculum to facilitate the delivery of holistic care to the military veteran. Open J. Nurs, 3:400