Scope of nurse practitioner practice in Georgia

Prescriptive authority gives nurse practitioners the role of prescribing medical services and goods, controlled drugs, and other devices without limitation (Isaacs & Jellinek, 2012). Thus, independent prescribing rights eliminate collaboration with physicians, creating uniformity in the regulations of nursing practice.

Scope of nurse practitioner practice in Georgia
Although Georgia ranks high among other states, in growth, laws related to nurse practitioners (NPs) are lagging behind (Legal Scope of Nurse Practitioner Practice n.d.). The law in Georgia necessitates that physicians supervise the work of practicing NPs. The delegating physicians are legally accountable for nursing practitioners medical actions; although, there exists a requirement that nurses should be able to access delegating physicians immediately for consultation. Indeed, Georgia is not moving towards granting NPs the freedom of practice, thereby making its scope of practice laws among the most limiting in the United States.

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Improving nurse practitioners role in care provision
Studies show that nurse practitioners write an average of 11 to 15 prescriptions daily (Isaacs & Jellinek, 2012). A recent poll also shows that of practitioners write nearly one to fifty prescriptions daily and about fifty-one to one-hundred prescriptions weekly. A 2006 research by Verispan, pharmaceutical companies, shows that retail prescriptions have increased by 22%, while the retail prescriptions of physicians increased by only 2% in 2006 (Isaacs & Jellinek, 2012). This increasing rate of prescriptions makes prescriptive authority an appropriate debate.

Practitioner prescribing laws
Although nurse practitioners received prescription rights in 2006, the nurse protocol agreement defines the NPs ability to write prescriptions under OCGA 43-34-25 (Georgia Department of Public Health, 2013). The OCGA 43-34-25 requires nurses with prescriptive authority to sign protocol agreements. Despite the terms of nurse protocol agreements, Georgia NPs lack prescription rights on Schedule II controlled substances (Georgia Department of Public Health, 2013). The law states that physicians can delegate prescriptive authority to nurse practitioners, but remain available for consultation. Although the laws granting prescription ability to nurses has improved their lives, Georgians lag behind in practitioner independence.

Current state of Nurse practitioners prescriptive authority
Various states give nurse practitioners prescriptive authority, although it varies according to the drug in question (Phillips, 2012). Since establishing the nursing profession, practitioners have encountered frustrating barriers that hinder their full scope of practice. The following show the current state of Nurse practitioners prescriptive authority in Georgia.

Legislators are slow to tearing down barriers to quality care, such as, the lack of a written prescriptive authority. They are also slow to prohibiting the prescription of CS or the varying prescription laws that complicate care delivery in medically undeserving areas (Phillips, 2012). This absence of quality healthcare provision requires legislators to recognize that nurse practitioners are licensed independent providers.
Georgia does not give nurse practitioners the right to sign prescriptions. While nurse practitioners may call pharmacists under the name of a partnering physician, the absence of prescriptive rights hampers patient care (Phillips, 2012). This prescription obstacle requires that nurse practitioners allocate time between appointments to place orders. Further, in instances where patients require written prescriptions, patients are mandated to wait for available physicians to sign their orders.
Moving across states pose challenges to health care providers, given that nurse practitioners face different and prescriptive authorities (Phillips, 2012). This means that nurse practitioners have to track prescription rights across states since the legislature introduces this issue regularly.
Benefits of prescriptive authority for nurses
The prescription law is influencing nurse practitioners who willingly work in Georgia, with the talent pool shifting to other states where nurses have prescriptive abilities (Legal Scope of Nurse Practitioner Practice n.d.). Although the Medical Association of Georgia continues to block legislative efforts by arguing that the state of the union is wrong, one cannot ignore the many benefits of prescriptive rights in improving care.

Improving access to care
Prescriptive authority will grant the majority of Georgians residing in medically underserved areas access to medications, which they currently receive depending on the physicians execution ability (Legal Scope of Nurse Practitioner Practice n.d.). Giving nurse practitioners the execution ability for written and electronic orders will aid in alleviating medication barriers. Nurses with prescriptive authority will eliminate the long waiting periods of patients in rural areas that have limited physician availability.

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Strengthening the response of public health to catastrophes
Prescriptive authority increases the effectiveness of public health during disasters (Legal Scope of Nurse Practitioner Practice n.d.). In emergencies, nurse practitioners with prescriptive authority will increase the number of care providers who engage in assessing patients and ordering required medications. This could be related to biological threat exposures such as anthrax, or displacement during natural disasters.

Improving service efficiency
Prescriptive authority will give Georgians similar benefits that other states enjoy. Prescriptive authority enhances the efficiency of public health in providing care (Legal Scope of Nurse Practitioner Practice n.d.). Nurse practitioners who are at the center of ordering processes can increase care delivery in Georgia. Further, nurse practitioners cannot prescribe medicines under their own names because they lack prescriptive authority (Legal Scope of Nurse Practitioner Practice n.d.). This inability to prescribe medications, such as stimulants for , creates a delay in pain control and management. This is evidence of the diminishing access to care without independent nurses.

Concerns of liability and accountability
Additionally, physicians are experiencing liability concerns over prescriptions that are not under their names or from patients that they have not encountered previously. Nurse practitioners have their eyes fixed on reducing patient confusions, decreasing health insurance costs, and creating efficient medication dissemination. Nurse practitioners believe that they have a rightful accountability for the drugs that they prescribe.

Making sure that NPs acquire full practice authority carries greater value for patients. Permitting full practice increases care access to Georgians as nurses emerge as the best answer to health care problems. This paper details the harm associated with a limited practicing scope for nurses, given their increasing value and role in health care. The shortage of care providers, the competitive nature of care satisfaction for Georgians, and making the inclusion of physicians collaborative role a choice is required to give nurses full authority in independent practice.

Passing a bill to remove the legislative barriers to practice will give nurse practitioners the full scope of authority that they need, thereby enhancing care delivery. Thus, nurse practitioners can provide safe and cost effective care for the whole of Georgia. Uniformity in the scope-of-practice guidelines and prescriptive authorities will also create better access to care and a wide pool of resources for healthcare provision.

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