An understanding of the scope of practice is an essential step in the professional development of a nurse practitioner (NP). As a rule, nurses are involved in different procedures, actions, decisions, and procedures, cooperate with other healthcare workers, patients, and their families, and continue improving their skills and knowledge in regards to their licenses. One of the recent frequently discussed themes in nursing practice is a prescriptive authority for controlled substances for NPs (Kellams & Maye, 2017). Such a new granted privilege as prescribing controlled substances has a number of benefits for NPs in palliative care or population health outcomes, as well as certain concerns in the quality of control and the levels of responsibility.
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Each year, some new educational improvements and innovations contribute to the growth of the NP scope of practice and expand nurses’ responsibilities and obligations. Collins and Small (2019) underline that NPs may work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and other rural or urban locations, and be competent in diagnosing, interpreting tests, and managing illnesses. However, the possibility to prescribe drugs was frequently discussed in nursing practice.
The point is that controlled substances usually cause physical or mental dependence. The reports of the United Nations (as cited in Kellams & Maye, 2017) showed that more than 200 million people abuse illegal substances globally. Therefore, there is a need for the government and healthcare organizations to define new methods and tools to predict addiction and control the use of drugs through effective nursing.
The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 indicates the classes of drugs that are dangerous for patients and have to be controlled by professional healthcare workers. NP license, including two hours of controlled substance prescription continuing educational units (CEUs) and the application to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license, is a chance to thwart further addiction (Kellams & Maye, 2017). As a result, the NP role can be properly improved and suited for nursing practice. It is not only a privilege for employees to protect patients and strengthen their skills and knowledge, but a safe practice for people to improve their health, avoid drug-related problems, and stay autonomous.
The benefits of NP prescriptive independence may be observed in different fields of nursing practice. For example, Ortiz et al. (2018) used the findings by Kurtzman and the team to prove its positive effects on referrals, education, and counseling services. Attention to past and present medical history records turns out to be a significant privilege to plan effective follow-up care and control drug usage. It is not enough for nurses to know and understand the classification of drugs and the level of their impact on patients’ health. It is important to investigate each case individually in order to comprehend the appropriateness of drug prescription, its potential threats and benefits, and weight the difference to make a decision.
In general, the chosen scope of practice, controlled substance prescription, has a number of positive outcomes of NP work. This grant privilege creates new opportunities for nurses to control the results of prescription and improve patients’ health. At the same time, this legally approved right is characterized by new responsibilities and obligations. Awareness of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, NP and DEA licenses, and CEUs have to be indicated. All organizations have to be ready to control the quality of services and the level of NP knowledge to make sure that all drugs are correctly prescribed.
Collins, C. M., & Small, S. P. (2019). The nurse practitioner role is ideally suited for palliative care practice: A qualitative descriptive study. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 29(1), 4-9. Web.
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Kellams, J. R., & Maye, J. P. (2017). The last state to grant nurse practitioners DEA licensure. Journal of Additions Nursing, 28(3), 135-142. Web.
Ortiz, J., Hofler, R., Bushy, A., Lin, Y. L., Khanijahani, A., & Bitney, A. (2018). Impact of nurse practitioner practice regulations on rural population health outcomes. Healthcare, 6(2). Web.