COVID 19: An unprecedented opportunity for nurse practitioners to reform healthcare and advocate for permanent full practice authority

Nurs Forum. 2021 Jan;56(1):222-227. doi: 10.1111/nuf.12515. Epub 2020 Oct 12.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic ushered in a new era for advanced practice registered nurses, as emergency regulatory and policy changes expanded the nurse practitioner (NP) scope of practice. The legislative changes enabled NPs to bolster the national pandemic response by working to the full extent of their education and training. The changes are only temporary, and many have contemplated the permanent impact of COVID-19 when healthcare transitions to a postpandemic normal. NPs now have a unique opportunity to educate others about the merit of their role and advocate for permanent legislative changes. In this creative controversy manuscript, we build a case that national NP full practice authority increases access to care and is vital for a sustainable and resilient healthcare system that can react to future pandemic crises.

Keywords: COVID-19; full practice authority; nurse practitioner; nursing; pandemic.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Health Care Reform / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Nurse Practitioners / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses' / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States / epidemiology