Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice: Iowa

I had a difficult time locating laws related to nurse practitioner practice in the State of Iowa as I sat down to write this post.  I began to read the legal information I was able to locate when I discovered the reason for my problem.  I was having such a difficult time because Iowa doesn’t have many laws regulating nurse practitioners.  Who knew that this tiny, land-locked, midwestern state was so progressive?

One of the 18 states currently allowing nurse practitioners to practice independently, Iowa offers freedom to nurse practitioners in their careers.  Let’s take a look at what Iowa law does say about the nurse practitioner scope of practice.

Iowa’s Nurse Practitioner Supervision Laws 

Nurse practitioners practicing in Iowa are allowed to practice independently, free of physician supervision.  While NPs in Iowa may have a collaborative practice agreement with a physician if warranted by their practice, they are not required to hold such an agreement.  Nurse practitioners in Iowa may be formally recognized as primary care providers as well as hold hospital admitting privileges.  The freedoms nurse practitioners enjoy in Iowa are largely thanks to a devoted group of nurses who lobbied diligently to make Iowa an independent practice state.

Iowa’s Nurse Practitioner Prescribing Laws

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Similarly to physician supervision laws, nurse practitioners in Iowa are free to prescribe independently.  States law does not require physician supervision or collaboration in order for NPs to prescribe medications.  Nurse practitioners practicing in Iowa may prescribe schedule II-V substances.

Other Scope of Practice Laws in Iowa

Keeping with its independent ideals, laws in Iowa allow nurse practitioners to sign handicap parking permits as well as sign death certificates.

With a large rural population, Iowa has enjoyed the benefits of allowing nurse practitioners to practice independently.  NPs are more likely to work rurally as well as in primary care than physicians.  By allowing nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their abilities, Iowa is increasing access to affordable care for its residents.  Let’s hope more states follow in Iowa’s footsteps!


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