Drug prescription is one area that remains under strict control of authorities and legislation due to potential negative patient outcomes in case of abuse or the lack of professionalism. For decades, physicians were responsible for prescribing controlled substances, but the shortage of medical staff and the dramatic increase in the number of patients have led to serious changes in this field. Florida was one of the last states to allow advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) to prescribe, order, and administer controlled substances (Kellams & Maye, 2017). This paper includes a brief description and analysis of the corresponding bill under the Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Act title.
Description of the Bill
The sponsors of the bill enacted in 2016 were Pigman and Campbell and others. According to this piece of legislation, ARNPs are authorized to prescribe, order, dispense, and administer “controlled substances, but only to the extent authorized under a supervising physician’s protocol” (“House of Representatives final bill analysis,” 2016, p. 1). The ARNPs can act within the boundaries of the protocols developed by physicians. Moreover, there is a list of substances that ARNPs can prescribe in limited quantities and within limited periods of time. The bill also requires the healthcare professionals who prescribe and dispense controlled medication to have training lasting three hours.
Reflection on What It Means for APRNS in Florida to Have This Privilege
The demographic challenges the country is facing and the overall situation in the healthcare system contribute to the empowerment of nurses and their deeper integration into the provision of care. Nurses have the necessary skills to prescribe, administer, and dispense medication based on physicians’ protocols. These professionals become decision-makers, which makes care more accessible and increases its quality (Kellams & Maye, 2017). This is specifically important for rural areas and low-income communities where the load on the healthcare system is often considerable, and people may find it difficult to have an appointment with their doctors. Of course, it is pivotal to ensure that each ARNP has the necessary knowledge and skills to make such decisions, so the curriculum of medical schools and nursing programs should be developed accordingly.
Pro and Cons (if Any) of the Bill as It Is Currently Enforced
The primary advantages of the bill are obvious and include the improvement of the quality of provided services, increased accessibility of care, as well as improved patient outcomes and satisfaction. The bill makes the processes related to medication management more efficient, which reduces medical personnel’s workload. On the other hand, some concerns linked to nurses’ preparedness for this kind of responsibility still exist. Craig-Rodriguez et al. (2017) report knowledge gaps in nurses’ knowledge regarding the use of opioids. The researchers also note that nursing professionals lack confidence when prescribing this type of medication. Hence, more research into the matter is necessary, and intense training for nurses will also be beneficial.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Act will have a positive impact on the development of the healthcare system in Florida as more patients will be able to access high-quality care. However, ARNPs also need to receive additional training to be effective decision-makers prepared to provide this type of service. It is also important to investigate the outcomes of the enactment of the law and its impact on stakeholders (patients, medical staff, and community members).
Craig-Rodriguez, A., Gordon, G., Kaplan, L., & Grubbs, L. (2017). Transitioning Florida NPs to opioid prescribing. The Nurse Practitioner, 42(9), 1-8. Web.
Kellams, J., & Maye, J. (2017). The last state to grant nurse practitioners DEA licensure. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 28(3), 135-142. Web.