APRNs Have the Qualifications;
They Need to be Empowered
Over one million Wisconsinites live in an area where healthcare professionals are in short supply. Yet the State of Wisconsin continues to tie the hands of some of our most qualified healthcare professionals. That’s the problem the APRN Modernization Act (SB 145) fixes.
There are about 8,000 practitioners who would qualify as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) providing vital care to patients across our state. These nurses have earned advanced degrees, completed hundreds of hours of clinical training, and are well-qualified to provide excellent care. Current law, however, doesn’t allow these professionals to practice to the full extent of their training.
SB 145 will empower these professionals to do the work they are trained to do and increase healthcare access for underserved populations.
The proposed bill is a reintroduction from last session to modernize the statutes governing APRN practice. Twenty-seven states – as politically diverse as Connecticut and Utah – and the District of Columbia have already enacted similar updates. It’s time for Wisconsin to join them as a full-practice state.
During the pandemic, when we depended on these professionals more than ever, the State of Wisconsin rolled back the restrictions on advanced practice nurses. Take, for instance, the story of Jessica in Racine. At the pandemic’s beginning, Jessica was working in a traditional Urgent Care setting. With many people afraid or unable to visit the hospital even for routine treatment, Jessica found a way to provide patients with care in their homes. Ronda, a long-term care provider from rural Northwestern Wisconsin, has a similar story. For nearly a year and a half, she continued to deliver care at a time when physician visits stopped. Tina in Waupaca noted how the “handcuffs” on her practice were removed during the pandemic to enable her to meet the dramatically increased demand. Her reward for completing the challenge? Having those handcuffs slapped back on.
These nurses stepped up, only to be told by some to take a step back. That’s not right.
APRNs are a vital part of our healthcare workforce. We count on them, especially in areas where healthcare access is more limited – like rural Wisconsin.
Qualified professionals must be treated as such. We are proud to be advocates for APRNs, and are committed to getting this bill passed.