NPs get full scope go-ahead in Nebraska

Nurse practitioners in Nebraska were granted full practice authority by the state legislature and the governor, becoming the 20th state to do so, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. A bill signed into law by the governor on March 5 removes the requirement that nurse practitioners establish collaborative agreements with physicians, affecting more than 1,300 licensed NPs in the state, according to the AANP. The Nebraska Hospital Association supported the bill, and the AANP urged other states to follow suit. “We urge lawmakers in states considering similar legislation to follow Nebraska’s example and move into closer alignment with national recommendations that prioritize the health care needs of patients,” said Ken Miller, R.N., president of the AANP, in a news release.

DNP enrollment up more than 25%

Enrollment in nursing schools grew across the range of degree programs, according to an annual survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Rising the most, but from a much lower baseline, was enrollment in doctor of nursing practice degree programs, which grew 26.2 percent to 18,352 students. Master’s degree program enrollment rose 6.6 percent to 113,788, while bachelor’s degree program enrollment grew 7 percent to 320,074 students. The AACN also said that 68,936 applicants were turned away for reasons that include a lack of clinical teaching sites, faculty, classroom space and preceptors.

Doc shortage estimate falls

The Association of American Medical Colleges revised downward its estimates for a shortage of doctors, reducing the shortfall to a range of 46,100 to 90,400 physicians in 2025. That number is a sharp drop from its 2010 projection of a shortage of 130,600. The AAMC attributed the improvement in the outlook to revised population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau, an increase in graduating physicians, increased use of advanced practice clinicians and the effects of the Affordable Care Act. AAMC officials say that the shortage estimate is still a concern for the health care system.