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Posted: August 30th, 2023
References, and at least 2 paragraphs.
• Suggest a way to advocate for the profession.
• Share resources with those who are in your state.
Licensure and Certification in Georgia
In Georgia, Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners (APRNs) are governed and receive their practice authorization from the Georgia Board of Nursing. The Georgia Board of Nursing recognizes the use of the term “APRN” to cover a range of titles, which include Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM), Certified Nurse Practitioners (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Clinical Nurse Specialists/Psych-Mental Health (CNS-PMH) or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). Also, in Georgia, an applicant must possess a valid registered nurse license before applying for an APRN license. According to Georgia Board of Nursing (2021), the applicant must meet the initial requirements for an APRN application, which include a completed Board application with required fee official transcript which verifies graduation with a master’s or higher degree in nursing for the respective nurse practitioner specialty or a graduate level post-masters certificate in an advanced practice registered nurse practitioner specialty and evidence of advanced pharmacology within the curriculum or as a separate course, advanced physical assessment, and pathophysiology and certification of current national certification from the respective Board-recognized certifying organization. In addition, the applicant must show documentation that shows four years immediately preceding the date of current application that shows five hundred hours of practice as an APRN or graduation from a nursing education program or graduate level post-master certificate in an advanced practice registered nurse practitioner specialty or completion of Georgia Board-approved advanced practice registered nurse reentry/refresher program (Georgia Board of Nursing, 2021).
In the state of Georgia, APRNs practice under a restricted regulatory structure. American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2022) noted that Georgia restricts patient access to nurse practitioner care and requires physician delegation/supervision for practice. Also, unlike other states, Georgia has two types of nurse protocol agreements. If the APRN is practicing under O.C.G.A. § 43-34-23, the APRN would evaluate the patient, formulate a diagnosis, determine the course of treatment, and they would call in the prescription to the pharmacy under their collaborating physician’s name, just like a nurse or medical assistant would. This type of nurse protocol does not require approval from the medical board (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2022). However, if the APRN practices under O.C.G.A. § 43-34-25, the APRN signs her prescriptions. This type of agreement must be submitted to the Board of Medical Examiners within 30 days of being signed (along with a fee of $150). APRNs must note that if they are to prescribe controlled substances, they must possess their own DEA number, and they are unable to prescribe Schedule II drugs in the state of Georgia. APRNs in Georgia are only allowed to prescribe Schedule III-V drugs. Regardless of which nurse protocol the APRN is practicing under, both protocols must include the following information: shall be in writing and signed by the advanced practice nurse and the delegating physician; shall be dated, available upon request, and specify parameters under which medical acts delegated by the physician may be performed; shall include provisions for periodic review of patient records by the delegating physician; shall be reviewed, revised or updated annually; shall include a provision for immediate consultation with the delegating physician or a physician designated in the absence of the delegating physician; hall contain written provisions regarding the procedure for dispensing dangerous drugs which comply with O.C.G.A. §§ 43-34-23(a)(3), (3.1), (4), and (5), if the dispensing of dangerous drugs is included as a delegated medical act in the nurse protocol agreement; and Shall contain written provisions regarding the procedure for ordering controlled substances which comply with paragraph (b)(1) of O.C.G.A. § 43-34-23, if the ordering of controlled substances is included as a delegated medical act in the nurse protocol agreement (Georgia Board of Nursing, 2021).
Any medical provider that prescribes controlled substances must be registered with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This process can be done via the Drug Enforcement Administration’s website. The online application consists of the following six components, personal information, email address validation, activity, state license (supervisory agreements, with specific authority for controlled substances), background information, application fee ($888) and confirmation (Drug Enforcement Administration, n.d.). This must be renewed every three years.
The state of Georgia has a prescription drug monitoring program that is known as the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is an online database that monitors and tracks the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances in the state of Georgia (Georgia Department of Public Health, 2023). This information can be used to monitor a patient’s-controlled substance history. All prescribers with an active Georgia professional license and active DEA number are required to register in the GA PDMP (Georgia Department of Public Health, 2023).
According to Georgia Board of Nursing (2021), Georgia defines the scope of practice for a nurse practitioner as
“A nurse practitioner provides advanced practice nursing care and medical services specific to the nurse practitioner respective specialty to individuals, families and groups, emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention as well as the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic diseases. The nurse practitioner collaborates as necessary with a variety of individuals to diagnose and manage clients’ health care problems (Georgia Board of Nursing, 2021).”
According to Hudspeth and Klein (2019), for safe practice and to optimize access to care, APRN’s should have a clear and concise understanding of their board of nursing’s standards of practice (SOP).
When reviewing the licensure and certification for APRN for the state of Georgia I was surprised to learn about that Georgia has two different types of nurse-provider agreements. I also was surprised that the APRN must pay a fee to the medical board for the review of their supervision agreement. It seems that the medical board want to restrict the authority of APRNs in the state. Its very disheartening to be so restricted in Georgia, but I can move to a state like New York or New Mexico and have full authority. Overall, I feel that no matter the state, all APRNs should have the same authority. However, this is unlikely because medical boards and providers make money from the APRNs.
American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2022, October). Georgia state policy fact sheet. Www.aanp.org. https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/state/state-practice-environment/state-policy-fact-sheets/georgia-state-policy-fact-sheetLinks to an external site.
Drug Enforcement Administration . (n.d.). Application for Registration Under Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Drug Enforcement Administration . https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/webforms2/spring/main?execution=e1s1Links to an external site.
Georgia Board of Nursing. (2021). Chapter 410-11:Regulation of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses . Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia. https://rules.sos.ga.gov/GAC/410-11Links to an external site.
Georgia Department of Public Health. (2023). Prescription drug monitoring program. Georgia Department of Public Health. https://dph.georgia.gov/pdmp#:~:text=The%20Georgia%20Prescription%20Drug%20Monitoring%20Program%20(PDMP)%20is%20an%20electronicLinks to an external site.
Hudspeth, R. S., & Klein, T. A. (2019). Understanding Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 31(8), 468–473. https://doi.org/10.1097/jxx.0000000000000268Links to an external site.
Advocating for Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners in Georgia: Strategies for Empowerment
The landscape of Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners (APRNs) in Georgia presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. While the state mandates a regulatory structure that involves physician collaboration and supervision, there are effective ways to advocate for the profession and work towards expanding the scope of practice. A strategic approach that involves collaboration, education, and legislative efforts can pave the way for greater autonomy and authority for APRNs in Georgia.
1. Collaboration and Education:
Building collaborative relationships with physicians and other healthcare stakeholders can help in dispelling misconceptions and fostering a deeper understanding of the capabilities and contributions of APRNs. Advocacy efforts should emphasize the comprehensive education and training APRNs receive, equipping them to provide safe and high-quality healthcare independently. Hosting educational events, workshops, and seminars for healthcare professionals can serve as platforms to bridge the knowledge gap and promote unity among providers.
2. Legislative Engagement:
Engaging in legislative initiatives is crucial to effecting change in the regulatory landscape. Advocacy organizations, such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, can lead or support efforts to introduce bills that seek to expand APRNs’ scope of practice. These bills could focus on issues such as reducing or eliminating physician collaboration requirements, expanding prescription authority, and enabling APRNs to practice to the full extent of their training. Collaborating with lawmakers who understand the value of APRNs’ contributions to healthcare delivery is pivotal for the success of such initiatives.
3. Public Awareness Campaigns:
Educating the general public about the role and capabilities of APRNs is another essential avenue for advocacy. Public awareness campaigns can include media outreach, social media engagement, and community events. By highlighting the positive impact APRNs have on improving access to healthcare, reducing wait times, and enhancing patient outcomes, these campaigns can garner public support and create pressure for regulatory reforms.
4. Grassroots Efforts:
Empowering APRNs at the grassroots level can amplify advocacy efforts. Encouraging APRNs to become involved in local and state nursing associations, attending regulatory board meetings, and engaging in conversations with policymakers can collectively contribute to a stronger and more unified voice for change. Grassroots activism can also involve contacting state representatives, sharing personal experiences, and advocating for reforms that align with the best interests of both healthcare providers and patients.
Sharing Resources for Aspiring APRNs in Georgia:
For those aspiring to become APRNs in Georgia, staying informed about the licensing and certification requirements is crucial. The Georgia Board of Nursing’s official website (https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/45) provides comprehensive information about the application process, fees, and necessary documentation. Additionally, the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (https://dph.georgia.gov/pdmp) is an invaluable resource for APRNs to maintain compliance with controlled substance regulations.
In conclusion, advocating for the advancement of APRN practice in Georgia requires a multi-faceted approach that includes collaboration, education, legislative efforts, public awareness campaigns, and grassroots activism. By embracing these strategies, the APRN community can work towards securing a regulatory environment that reflects their education, training, and commitment to providing high-quality healthcare services.
American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2022). Georgia State Policy Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/state/state-practice-environment/state-policy-fact-sheets/georgia-state-policy-fact-sheet
Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Application for Registration Under Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Retrieved from https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/webforms2/spring/main?execution=e1s1
Georgia Board of Nursing. (2021). Chapter 410-11: Regulation of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia. Retrieved from https://rules.sos.ga.gov/GAC/410-11
Georgia Department of Public Health. (2023). Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Retrieved from https://dph.georgia.gov/pdmp#:~:text=The%20Georgia%20Prescription%20Drug%20Monitoring%20Program%20(PDMP)%20is%20an%20electronic
Hudspeth, R. S., & Klein, T. A. (2019). Understanding Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 31(8), 468–473. https://doi.org/10.1097/jxx.0000000000000268
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