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Advance practice nurses can now treat their own patients in Florida

Posted at 11:37 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 23:37:50-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida will join 30 other states giving advanced nurses the ability to treat patients without a doctor over their shoulder.

Gov. DeSantis signed the bill, hours after it passed.

Now, advanced practice nurses, APRNs, can admit, care for, or discharge patients from medical facilities without the oversight of a physician.

Supporters believe the greater autonomy will allow advanced nurses to fill a medical need in rural communities.

That's exactly what North Florida nurse practitioner Stan Whittaker plans to do.

"We now have a pathway for me to become an independent nurse practitioner," Whittaker said. "I don't have to have a signature on a piece of paper saying I can work."

Opponents worry healthcare quality will suffer.

They warned today misdiagnosis and wrong treatments might be on the horizon.

The governor opposed the bill last session.