Birmingham Medical News: Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Midwife Prescribing Practices

Articles / Publications

An ongoing debate in the healthcare field involves the scope of practice for allied healthprofessionals, for example, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. Allied health professionalsoftentimes desire the ability to perform additional services through an expansion of their scope ofpractice. However, many members of the physician medical community believe that certain practicesand services should only be reserved for those individuals who have attended medical school. InAlabama, these two schools of thought have recently come together to grant nurse practitioners andnurse midwives an expansion of their scope of practice, while still retaining oversight by licensedphysicians.

The Alabama Legislature recently passed Act 2013-223, which now gives nurse practitioners andnurse midwives the authority to prescribe certain controlled substances. Prior to the Act's passage,Alabama was only one of two (2) states that did not allow such prescribing practices.

Act 2013-223 was proposed by Senators Greg Reed (R-5th District), Del Marsh (R- 12th District), andJabo Waggoner (R-16th District). The premise behind the Act was jointly devised over a two (2) yearperiod by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners and the Nurse Practitioners Alliance.

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