Progress for the Profession: Some Illinois Nurses Can Practice Without Physician Oversight

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A historic law has been passed in Illinois allowing Advanced Practice Nurses, such as Nurse Practitioners, to diagnose, prescribe medications, and treat patients without physician oversight. This remarkable law comes at a time when healthcare costs are soaring. The new privileges requires over 4,000 hours of working with a physician at a hospital and 250 hours of continuing education.

While the majority of people are excited about this progression of nursing expertise and authority, there are some, namely physicians like Dr. April Kennedy, that are unsure of the bill. She states“When you try to substitute training, when you try to have someone perform a function that they really aren’t trained to do to me it just opens up for errors, and medical errors can be critical, they can be life threatening.” The research says otherwise. Ricki Loar, President of the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing, states “With advanced practice nurses in general, the quality of care and the control of for instance, chronic disease, is as good or better than it is with a physician and that’s documented in multiple studies.”

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