While researching for my last post about nurse practitioner owned clinics, I made a curious finding. There are far more nurse practitioner owned clinics in Washington than any other state. While I realize my native Washington State is a fabulous place to live, I doubt the reason for this statistic is the abundance of coffee shops or the lush Northwest landscape. Why are there more NP owned and operated clinics in Washington than in other states?
The number of nurse practitioner owned clinics in each state relates directly back to legislation. Most laws governing the practice of nurse practitioners are decided at the state rather than national level. Although legislation surrounding nurse practitioners continues to become less restrictive, many states are far more progressive than others. Three states stand out as the most NP friendly: Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire. What laws make these states more NP friendly than others?
Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire do not require any physician oversight in nurse practitioner practice. Unlike other states, NP’s in these states are allowed to diagnose and treat patients as well as prescribe medications with no physician supervision. This removes legal complications from opening a practice giving nurse practitioners complete independence. In Washington State, laws governing nurse practitioners are so progressive that nurse practitioners can even prescribe medical marijuana! NP friendly laws encourage entrepreneurial nurse practitioners to dive in and open their own practices.
The emergence of more nurse practitioner owned and operated clinics is great news for NP’s and out country as a whole. On a national level, nurse practitioners can help alleviate the developing shortage of primary care providers. On a personal level, NP’s practicing independently have more control over their careers leading to a higher level of satisfaction.
Where do your state laws stand in regards to nurse practitioners? Ask us and we will find out!