An Analysis on the Ability of Nurse Practitioners to Prescribe Controlled Substances

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According to the Pearson Report, there is a total of 147,295 Nurse Practitioners throughout the United States (Pearson, 2009). However, for NPs in some states the battle continues over some forms of prescriptive authority or physician involvement in NP prescribing, such as the state of Pennsylvania. State regulatory approaches to NP prescribing range from no authorization for prescribing (in Georgia, 2006 legislation passed which recognized NPs as prescribers, but the rules have not been approved at the time of this writing) to unencumbered prescriptive authority (Arizona, DC, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming) (Lugo, O’Grady, Hodnicki & Hanson, 2007).

Lugo et al. (2007) writes that NPs in 47 states can prescribe controlled
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As a certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) practicing in the state of Pennsylvania, the current prescriptive authority limits prescribing narcotics to a 72-hour supply. This includes any Schedule II medication regardless of the patient and their pain regimen. Working under a collaborative practice agreement, the nurse practitioner (NP) can prescribe chemotherapy, treat and prescribe for most symptoms and side effects the oncology patient may encounter, but not treat pain with Schedule II narcotics (Leahy, 2007).

Through reviewing the literature, prescriptive authority of controlled substances by NP in Pennsylvania has been challenging. Many societal issues have influenced the growth of nurse prescriptive practices. The shortage of providers, particularly for underserved, uninsured populations, has been thoroughly documented (Pearson, 2009).
In the 2007 Pearson Report, there are 39 states that still require the oversight of a physician in writing prescriptions, and 11 other states including the District of Columbia, which allows independent authority. APNs lose a feeling of independence when they feel a physician has to oversee what they are prescribing to their patients. In states in which physician oversight is not required, APN practice can be very independent.

For this paper, an examination on

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