An ongoing debate in the healthcare field involves the scope of practice for allied health professionals, for example, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. Allied health professionals oftentimes desire the ability to perform additional services through an expansion of their scope of practice. However, many members of the physician medical community believe that certain practices and services should only be reserved for those individuals who have attended medical school. In Alabama, these two schools of thought have recently come together to grant nurse practitioners and nurse midwives an expansion of their scope of practice, while still retaining oversight by licensed physicians.
The Alabama Legislature recently passed Act 2013-223, which now gives nurse practitioners and nurse midwives the authority to prescribe certain controlled substances. Prior to the Act's passage, Alabama was only one of two (2) states that did not allow such prescribing practices.
Originally Published in Birmingham Medical News, July 8, 2013.
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