TENNESSEE NURSE PRACTITIONER ASSOCIATION
As I opened several emails today, there is a continuous trend for "A Call for Action" or TMA has introduced Bill SB521/HB861, a "Team Based Care". When we receive these messages, it is obvious, a fight or flight emotion, ignites. These words begin to brew within and we come out blazing, for a short while, then we return to our cocoon.
TMA's tactics appear to grasp our attention. Their character, words and motives have a tendency to ignite a fire for one or two weeks, then the flames dissolve. Why? Because we, as a unit, will sit and wait on the next exciting tactic from TMA.
As an intelligent, well versed body, we must remember: "Evidence-based medicine advocates that to the greatest extent possible, decisions and policies should be based on evidence, not just the beliefs of practitioners".
The bill which is to be presented to the legislative committee, SB680/HB456, asks that Advanced Practice Registered Nurses be allowed to practice to their full scope of training. It is not surprising to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses or Tennesseans that physician groups such as TMA are opposing this bill. Physicians have believed and continue to believe that their direct leadership is warranted for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to offer quality healthcare. However, this belief has been proven incorrect. Many studies have supported the great care delivered by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, to the communities. And, as a bonus, the care provided by the APRN was as good, if not better, than that of a physician. Because of these studies, TMA continue to use scare tactics for the community and legislative body. They would have people to believe that patient care could be "unsafe" or jeopardized when they are not leading the team. Their drum major instinct causes them to believe in their own sheets of music, "if we cannot lead, then it cannot be right". Do not believe in their scare tactic!!
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses work can speak for itself, and is being recognized across the United States. In 2010, The Institute of Medicine published recommendations in "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health" recommended states to remove barriers to practice, in order for all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to be allowed to practice to their highest level of training. Twenty-two states have changed their antiquated laws and removed these barriers. Tennessee must join the ranks of other states and remove barriers which hinders the public from affordable and quality health care.
In 2015, The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) reported the number of licensed nurse practitioners in the United States was 205,000. In the state of Tennessee, to my surprise, we have approximately 11,000 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, according to the Tennessee Board of Nursing. With approximately 11,000 voices, why are we silent? Why are we reacting to the rhetoric of TMA? We must continue to talk when we think that no one is listening!! We have to educate all TENNESSEANS, including Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, about our roles and responsibilities. Our goal is ACCESS to affordable and quality health care. We have to allow Tennesseans an opportunity to choose their providers, not TMA!!
I challenge each of you to join the move with Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association!! We have monthly dinner meetings, daily post on the Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association's Facebook, updates on webpage (www.tnnpa.com) and e-mail notifications to each member.
Irene W. Bean, DNP, FNP-BC
Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association