New Ky. Law Allows Nurse Practitioners to Prescribe Independently

Apr 24, 2014

Thanks to legislation that passed during this year's Kentucky General Assembly, advanced practice registered nurses will be able to prescribe non-narcotic medications to patients without a collaborative prescribing agreement with a doctor.

In a legislative briefing, Greenville state Rep. Brent Yonts said half the state’s population lives in rural areas where APRNs might be the only available source of medical care. Summer Cross is an APRN and lecturer in Murray State University’s School of Nursing. She said though the law is probably geared more toward heavily rural eastern Kentucky, the new law will benefit western Kentuckians.

“Even though we don’t think of McCracken County as being rural, it’s a big county, and there are some areas of that county where there’s a nurse practitioner practicing and he’s the only medical facility around in that part of the county,” Cross said. “And you have patients that don’t have transportation.”

The new law lets only APRNs who have practiced with a doctor for four years begin prescribing antibiotics and other common drugs. Cross said that stipulation was a compromise.

“Originally nurse practitioners tried to get full collaborating practice and they’ve compromised to where they have to practice so many years with a physician, collaborating with a physician, before they can actually practice independently now,” Cross said.

Yonts said the law means better, more efficient health care without compromising the quality they receive from APRNs.