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Legislative Corner - Compact Licensure for APRNs
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Legislative Corner

The Future of Nurse Practitioners in New Mexico: Proposed Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Compact

One of the most significant pieces of legislation that could affect nurse practitioner (NP) practice in New Mexico is the proposed interstate compact for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The Compact sets out a proposal for states to become member states in a compact that would allow NPs licensed in a member state to practice in another member state without obtaining a separate license to practice in that other state. NPs who are licensed in another state and practicing in New Mexico under the Compact would have to follow our laws as far as scope of practice, but they wouldn’t have to meet our continuing education requirements – or even to report that they’re practicing here in New Mexico. The scope of practice in many other compact states is very different than the scope of practice in New Mexico, and often of a narrower scope. This means an NP coming here from another state might not have the experience or training to perform many of the tasks that NPs in New Mexico do routinely, such as write prescriptions or practice without collaborating with or being supervised by a physician.

The Issue

The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Compact is a group concept that would allow anyone in a state that is a member state of the Compact to practice in any other member state. This means NPs from states that are part of the compact can come to New Mexico and fill in the gaps created by our nurse shortage. That’s a clear benefit for New Mexico, but unfortunately it doesn’t take into account the learning curve associated with liberal practice laws, or specific practice experiences that are unique to New Mexico’s NPs, such as understanding our multicultural environment. Despite starting from the same professional background, after several years of clinical practice in a particular environment, NPs from different states may practice in very dissimilar ways.

The Result

Currently, regulations setting out NP requirements are at the state level. Without uniform educational and certification requirements, this means there might be a difference in the level of care that patients receive from one clinic to the next, and possibly not a positive one. As NPs in New Mexico, we want to continue to nurture the talent we’ve invested in the schools in our state, and we value the practice laws we’ve worked hard to attain and maintain. While joining the compact may provide a larger quantity of available care, it could potentially negatively affect the quality of care NPs are proud to provide our patients in New Mexico. 

Other potentially problematic issues in the proposed Compact include costs (e.g., administrative, travel, responding to subpoenas). It’s unknown at this time how much participating in the Compact will impact the cost of licensure in New Mexico.

The Action

Linda Siegle, the New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council (NMNPC) lobbyist and longtime legal lobbyist in the healthcare field, has been closely monitoring this issue for the Council. Due to the unique issues this proposed legislation brings up – both pros and cons – Ms. Siegle is working with NMNPC leaders to analyze the proposal to help NPs and local legislators understand its nuances, including how it will affect NP in New Mexico. She is constantly gathering research and polling professionals across the field, to help ensure that our patients continue to receive the best possible care.

 

For more information: click here to read the full Compact document and here to get the full analysis done by Ms. Siegle and NMNPC.

If you’d like to be more involved in legislative issues affecting NPs in New Mexico, please contact the NMNPC Executive Director: Rachel Bevan, BSN RBevan@NMNPC.org

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