The Primary Care Paradigm Shift: An Overview of the State-Level Legal Framework Governing Nurse Practitioner Practice

Publication Date: April 2008

Publisher: American Bar Association. Health Law Section

Author(s): Ann Ritter; Tine Hansen-Turton

Research Area: Health

Keywords: law; practitioner; nurse; healthcare

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced training that allows them to treat patients and provide care that is similar in scope to that of a primary care physician. While some states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently without physician involvement, in other states efforts to change laws to permit greater professional autonomy for nurse practitioners have produced friction between the nursing and medical communities. Despite this friction, more and more patients are seeing nurse practitioners for their primary care needs.

This article describes how nurse practitioners have been utilized to provide primary care in increasing numbers in recent years, and provides a broad overview of the regulatory framework that governs their practice in the United States.

In Health Lawyer, v.20:4, April 2008.