Florida Nurse Practitioners are Leading the Charge to Elevate their Profession and Patient Care

Nurse Practitioner

It’s a story of hard work, commitment and tenacity. Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs), often referred to as nurse practitioners, are making significant strides in Florida, expanding their scope of practice, assuming health care leadership roles, and reaping the benefits of decades of work striving for a greater understanding and acceptance of the profession.

As a nurse practitioner myself, now serving in a leadership role as Chief Clinical Officer of Plaza Health Network’s rehabilitation and skilled nursing centers in Miami, I took time to reflect on this progress in a recent article for the health care publication Advance for NPs and PAs. The article focuses on the landmark “Future of Nursing” report by the Institute of Medicine, and Florida’s progress on implementing the report authors’ recommendations. It reminded me of how much we have achieved, and also how much more there is to do.

2016 so far has been an important year for progress in Florida. For the first time, the Florida Legislature passed bills to allow nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled medications. It was the culmination of many years of hard work, and it finally brings Florida in line with similar laws in the other 49 states. Allowing Florida nurse practitioners more autonomy to practice offers clear benefits to patients, particularly in a state with a growing shortage of primary care physicians.

The bigger picture is how well we are answering the call made by the IOM to increase the leadership roles for nursing nationwide. If you’re unfamiliar with the IOM, this division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine routinely identifies large gaps in health care delivery in the United States, calls attention to them and offers solutions. Their 2010 report on the nursing profession is no exception.

Two of the solutions to further elevate nursing, which call for increase leadership by nursing now and in the future, still need more work to be fully realized. For more details on opportunities for nursing, what it means for patient care, and what Florida nurses can do to advance the cause, I encourage you to read the full article, “How Florida NPs are Meeting the IOM’s Goals.”

Ann-Lynn Denker is the chief clinical officer at Plaza Health Network in Miami. She is also a past Chair of the Florida Board of Nursing and past statewide implementation program (SIP) grant project director for the Florida Action Coalition, an organization which aims to provide leadership in advancing the nursing profession.