Let advanced practice nurses do what they’re trained to do

Let nurse anesthetists practice
Keep doctors in loop for safety | Letter, Feb. 12

I am a physician who has worked with Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). In fact, I started my career as an RN and operating room supervisor, and later chose to get my medical degree. I am now a residency-trained, board certified specialist in family medicine.

In Florida, CRNAs are not required to work with anesthesiologists in any practice setting. But when they do, it’s the CRNA who usually provides the hands-on care and stays with the patient throughout the procedure, not the anesthesiologist. The truth is, CRNAs are highly educated, highly trained professionals. Nurse anesthetists must complete seven to eight-plus years of health-care and anesthesia-related education and more than 9,000 hours of clinical training prior to graduating with an advanced degree.

Today, thousands of CRNAs are practicing throughout Florida. They are the largest provider of anesthesia services in many parts of rural Florida, allowing patients in these underserved areas to access essential obstetrical, surgical and trauma stabilization services. I speak from experience as a patient as well. CRNAs have administered anesthesia to me — and my children.

Twenty-two states allow CRNAs to practice without physician supervision or protocol. Many medical studies examining care in states that do not have supervision requirements found no difference in patient safety or healthcare quality.

We all agree that the safety and well-being of patients is a top priority. As a physician I have worked alongside dozens of APRNs and CRNAs who are absolutely qualified to deliver health care services without the oversight of physicians. I support HB 607 that would allow APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education, and do what they are trained to do.

Dr. Martha McDonough, Yulee

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