Madison: Wisconsin would expand access to health care under legislation passed today in the State Senate to allow Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to practice to the full extent of their training and education, while requiring for the first time in state history, that they collaborate with physicians and other providers on cases that are beyond their expertise.

Senator Patrick Testin (Stevens Point) authored the bill as an important step toward improving health care access in a state where more than one million people live in areas where health care professionals are in short supply. APRNs are registered nurses who have a master’s degree and have completed hundreds of hours of clinical training.

“We need all hands on deck to provide access to quality health care, especially in rural Wisconsin,” said Testin.  “This bill allows these professionals to use their skills and training to provide greater access, but it also safeguards patient safety by requiring collaboration.”

Twenty-three states and Washington D.C. allow APRNs to practice to the limit of their scope, and most of those states rank among the highest in the nation for health care quality.  More than 5,000 APRNs practice in Wisconsin, making up 7% of the state’s nursing workforce.

The bill now moves to the Assembly for approval.

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