New bill would allow Wisconsin’s advanced practice nurses to work independently 

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, a bill before the state Legislature would allow advanced practice nurses to work independently. This would add Wisconsin to the list of 27 states that have “full practice authority,” which aims to let advanced practice nurses provide care equivalent to that which physicians provide.  

Around 8,000 of Wisconsin’s 94,000 registered nurses have advanced degrees and work as clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetics, or certified nurse midwives. The bill would replace certification as advanced practice nurse prescribers of medications with a new license. Such nurses could practice independently after 3,840 clinical hours under the supervision of a doctor. 

Doctor groups, including the Wisconsin Medical Society, oppose the measure as it stands — some asserting increased risks posed to patients without direct doctor intervention; however, the medical society does support a version in Gov. Evers’ budget that comes with restrictions, such as the requirement that advanced practice nurses work with doctors at least two years before becoming independent. Last year, Evers vetoed a bill without restrictions. 

A public hearing on the new bill before the Senate Health Committee is set to occur but has been scheduled and canceled at least twice in recent weeks. Among 38 of the bill’s co-sponsors, Sen. Kelda Roys of Madison and Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee are the only Democrats.