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Advanced practice nurses no longer need doctor supervision

Some highly trained nurses will no longer be forced to work under collaborative agreements with physicians after Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Tuesday a measure allowing patients full and direct access to nurse practitioner services.

The new law is intended to give underserved pockets of Minnesotans, including those in rural areas, quicker access to health care and more flexibility to coordinate care. It expands the pool of health professionals cleared to diagnose and administer treatment.

“They’ve removed a needless regulatory bottleneck that better positions the state to meet existing and future health care workforce needs,” said Angela Golden and Kenneth Miller, co-presidents of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, in a statement after the governor’s signing of the bill.  

The bill had passed both the House and Senate by wide margins. Among other things, the legislation allows certain certified nurses — referred to in the law as advanced practice registered nurses — to administer complicated injections without doctor’s supervision to treat patients with chronic or severe pain.

Advanced practice registered nurses have postgraduate education, such as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives and registered nurse anesthetists. Minnesota has about 6,000 advanced practice nurses.  

Physicians groups throughout the state sought, and received, concessions to the bill, which they’d originally opposed.