Early implementation of full-practice authority: A survey of Massachusetts nurse practitioners

J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2023 Apr 1;35(4):235-241. doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000853.

Abstract

Background: In January 2021, Massachusetts granted nurse practitioners (NPs) full-practice authority (FPA). Little is known about how FPA changes the day-to-day work of NPs.

Purpose: To examine changes in practice barriers and care delivery in the early stages of FPA.

Methodology: Descriptive analysis of a web-based survey of clinically active NPs in Massachusetts from October to December 2021, using Fisher exact tests to examine the associations between the perception that FPA improved work and other variables.

Results: Survey response rate was 50.3% ( N = 147). Overall, 79% of NPs believe that clinical work is unchanged by FPA. Practicing outside institutions is a significant predictor of FPA improving work ( p < .05). Larger proportions of respondents feel that efficiency (22%), patient centeredness (20%), and timeliness (20%) are improved by FPA compared with effectiveness (16%), equity (14%), and safety (10%). Almost half of those reporting that FPA improves overall care also report improved efficiency (50%, p < .0001), but only 22% report improved safety ( p < .05). Of those believing that FPA improved work, a minority no longer need physician review of new controlled substance prescriptions (29%, p < .01), a practice agreement (32%, p < .05), or physician signature on clinical documentation (22%, p < .05).

Conclusions: Almost 1 year after FPA was passed in Massachusetts, the large majority of NPs report no changes in their day-to-day work, suggesting that FPA implementation is slow.

Implications: Concerted efforts by regulators, employers, and individual NPs are needed to ensure that legislated FPA is effectively implemented inside organizations and among payers.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Massachusetts
  • Nurse Practitioners*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires