Nurses play an important role in the healthcare industry. They perform vital tasks and services on behalf of patients and other medical professionals. With the aging Baby Boomer population, Indiana is experiencing a statewide shortage of nursing professionals. The opioid and illegal drug epidemic is also resulting in the need for more nurses. A proposal I sponsored this session would align Indiana with industry standards and modernize educational requirements for advanced practice registered nurses to ensure they can enter the field more swiftly while remaining properly equipped to care for Hoosiers.
In 2014, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 60 of Indiana’s 92 counties were facing a shortage of healthcare professionals. Being the vice chair of the House Committee on Public Health and having experience in the medical field as a respiratory therapist, I understand the need for a proper amount of nurses and how important they are to Hoosiers.
This proposal would make a graduate degree the minimum standard for all APRNs. It would also change references from an advanced practice nurse to advance practice registered nurse in Indiana code. Indiana is 1 of 4 states that still refer to APRNs as APNs. By modernizing code, it would lessen confusion with other governing bodies and be consistent with the other 46 states.
In the future, I plan to continue working on implementing a new policy that would require an APRN to have specific educational requirements to be able to prescribe drugs that have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration. This policy would also add two members that are APRNs with different areas of specialties to the Indiana State Board of Nursing, and allow APRNs to practice without collaborative agreements with a practitioner if they meet certain conditions.
Having a sufficient number of nurses is incredibly important, and with the opioid crisis and the aging Baby Boomer population, getting more of them into the field is something we are working to accomplish. By updating code and modernizing requirements to get more APRNs in the field, we will continue fighting the opioid epidemic and taking care of Hoosiers.