Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nurse Practioners and Prescribing Controlled Substances

Just came across a post from HospiceNP and anonymous blogger in Florida who discusses the recent dismissal of an attempt to get nurse practioners the ability to prescribe controlled substances. I have heard about this happening in other states (including Missouri) and I profess to be somewhat ignorant about the whole situation despite the obvious impact to my own practice.

Maybe ignorance is too strong of a word. I am aware of the growing calls for nurse practioners to get prescriptive authority for controlled substances, but I have not followed the situation with great zeal to understand all the arguments. The one consistent argument I hear from the pro-NP side is that doctors are pushing hard to stop NP's because of turf, pride, power, or money. The thing I do not understand about this argument is how prescribing controlled substances is a task that gives power or money or pride or turf to physicians. There is a prevailing notion that physicians often may want to avoid prescribing controlled substances and if someone else could do this in their place (even with the doctors overseeing responsibility) they might freely share the right with adequately trained NP's.

Anyway, the real reason I write this post is to give a shout-out and soap-box level of support to all the NP's, ARNP's, CNS's I have worked with in palliative care and hospice. They have all been extremely professional, with a high level of knowledge about opioids and other controlled substances and the potential risk and benefits of the medications, and they have also demonstrated a immense concern for prescribing within their allowed guidelines. Now some outlaw NP's may be out there but I have not yet come across one.

If any one has some more info to share about this issue please enlighten me and the rest of the readers. Does anyone know what states NP's have prescriptive authority for controlled substances?

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