This is an exciting time for Kansas nurses. Recently, the state granted licensed nurse practitioners (NPs) the right to engage with full practice authority, a privilege allowing NPs to practice independently under the scope set forth by the Kansas Board of Nursing. Advancement of this nature has a substantial impact on the ability of nurse practitioners to use their knowledge and skills freely, making it an excellent time for you to become an NP.
For the public, Kansas nurse practitioner full practice authority means greater ability to access care provided by Kansas NPs. They are now able to serve their patients without the mandate of a formal collaborative practice agreement or other substantial prescribing protocols related to supervision in their advanced practice nursing roles. In the past, restrictions of this nature had often limited NP practice autonomy in Kansas.
You may be wondering what it means for a nurse to have full practice authority. Specifically, it means that NPs are able to work to the fullest extent of their education and training. NPs have the ability to carry out many tasks with critical thinking in daily patient care activities, so full practice authority allows them to not restrict their ability to carry out the entirety of their job functions.To begin, let’s take an in-depth look at what a nurse practitioner's job entails to better understand the impacts of the full practice authority of NPs.
NP Clinical Practice Responsibilities
Nurse practitioners with master’s or doctoral degrees can diagnose and treat common and complex health problems in a variety of patient populations and in a variety of clinical practice settings. Following the nursing process, NPs, by law, are permitted to provide advanced health care to patients and families in these ways:
- NPs assess symptoms of illness by taking thorough patient histories
- NPs evaluate signs of illness by completing physical examinations
- NPs order and interpret diagnostic testing to arrive at patient diagnoses
- NPs manage illness by prescription of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments
- NPs evaluate whether goals of treatment have been met and revise care as necessary
There are many benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner in Kansas, especially now that full practice authority has been granted to NPs. NP full practice authority allows licensed NPs the opportunity to run their own private clinics and provide direct patient care under the authority granted by the state board of nursing instead of under the authority of a physician.
With this in mind, let’s explore the differences in practice authority levels that exist in various states. This will place the current scope of practice for Kansas NPs into the national context and provide additional perspective on the forward-thinking progress of advanced practice nurses. As a note, the specific details governing NP clinical practice are outlined and can be found in the Kansas nurse practice act.
NP Practice Authority in the United States
Each individual state determines the practice authority afforded to nurse practitioners; therefore, the levels of NP practice authority vary from state to state. Generally, NP practice authority is divided into three categories:
- NP full practice authority
- NP reduced practice authority
- NP restricted practice authority
States that operate under reduced practice authority typically require a nurse practitioner to enter into a collaborative practice agreement with a physician and have laws reducing an aspect of clinical practice. This may be a reduction in prescriptive authority, specifically regarding controlled substances, or a reduction of NP practice in a particular health care setting. States that operate with restricted practice authority mandate NP practice supervision or the delegation of care activities from a supervisory practitioner in order for the NP to be authorized to provide elements of care while likewise restricting an element of NP practice.
In the United States, NP full practice authority is now adopted in greater than half of the states as more and more look to this timely solution to address the urgent need for practicing health care professionals. Awarding full practice authority to NPs affords benefits to both nurses and patient populations alike.
Benefits of NP Full Practice Authority
States like Kansas with NP full practice authority are different from other states because, in full practice authority situations, a nurse practitioner’s activities can be carried out autonomously and independently by licensed practitioners. This is unlike reduced and restricted practice arrangements where NPs are educated and certified or licensed to practice but must comply with additional terms and conditions such as supervision requirements, prescription limitations and restrictions pertaining to practice settings.
For nurses, NP full practice authority is a step to empower practitioners with advanced practice training and licensure to work independently toward the fullest scope of their education and competency. This independence maintains personal and professional accountability for responsible clinical practice and can address the health care provider shortage in Kansas and across the country.
The flexibility now afforded to NPs under full practice authority allows the state to mobilize their available health care workforce to address health care needs in a way that more effectively uses the resources of advanced practice nursing personnel. Thus, granting NP full practice authority is highly advantageous for patient access to health care and comes at a critical point in addressing the growing health care provider shortage.
With the inauguration of these additional practice authority privileges, Kansas NPs have increased freedom to pursue their passion for patient advocacy and fill in some of the health care gaps that continue to grow, especially in rural areas.
Next, let's focus on the job outlook for nurse practitioners in Kansas. This will help you consider whether to advance your career and pursue the graduate education required to become a nurse practitioner.
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Job Outlook for Kansas NPs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for Kansas nurse practitioners ranged up to approximately $110k per year in 2021. With full practice authority, the future is bright for Kansas NPs. Earning potential is elevated when nurse practitioners have the ability to mobilize their independent practices to areas with the highest patient demand for health care, and this ability is present where there is NP full practice authority.
Additionally, projections have estimated the state of Kansas to require at least a 13% increase in primary care physicians from 2010 to 2030 to maintain an adequate supply of doctors to match the rates of Kansas primary care usage. It is important to note that these projections were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that stretched the limits of our country’s existing health care workforce and exposed a continually increasing need for a robust solution to health care provider shortages. Therefore, full practice authority for NPs is a big win for Kansas, positioning advanced practice nurses to aid in the shortage of primary care practitioners.
If you are looking to become a nurse practitioner in the state of Kansas, it is important to enroll in a graduate program that is authorized to operate in the state. This is especially important when evaluating online program offerings that may teach students who live in many different states. Rockhurst University provides information on state authorization for several quality online program offerings for becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP).
Whether you’re a nurse looking to become an NP for the first time or you currently hold an MSN degree in another specialty, Rockhurst University has a path forward. Read on to learn more about the degrees available for prospective FNPs.
Rockhurst University Programs for Prospective FNPs
There are two program options currently available at Rockhurst University for prospective family nurse practitioners. The first is the Online Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) program, and the second is the Online Post-Master’s FNP program.
The Online MSN-FNP program is completed in approximately six to eight semesters, depending on whether you elect full-time or part-time enrollment. Alternatively, the post-master’s option is completed in approximately four semesters because it is a second master’s degree for nurses who already hold an MSN. Both programs offer affordable, 100% online coursework, in addition to clinical hours with the added value of complimentary clinical placement services to help students focus on studies and work. With the recent granting of Kansas nurse practitioners full practice authority, now is a great time to pursue an NP education.
Learn more about Rockhurst University’s Online MSN-FNP and Post-Master’s FNP programs.