I am happy to report that the Minnesota legislature recently passed Senate Bill 511, which means that as of January 1, 2015 Minnesota Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) will be able to practice autonomously, without the mandatory physician collaboration agreement previously required under the nurse practice act.

Under the new law, advanced practice nurses are eligible for separate APRN licensure, the requirements of which are set forth in the new MN 148.211. Subd.1a.   In addition to the requisite education and certification, APRNs must also have a current RN license. The Minnesota Board of Nursing is busy creating the necessary infrastructure to implement the new law and expects applications for the new licenses to be available sometime this fall.  

The new law also directs the Board of Nursing to convene an Advanced Practice Nursing Advisory Council to provide recommendations and advice to the Board, and review prescribing trends and practice patterns (148.2841). 

Here are some of the other highpoints of the new law.

•    The definition of APRN, as well as a description of APRN certifying body requirements are in the amended 148.171 Subd 3. The definition of APRN practice is in newly amended 148.171 Subd. 13.   

•    The official license designation is now APRN, followed by the appropriate practice designation, as follows. There are also accompanying amendments to the definitions of those four types of practice. 
o    APRN, CNS (148.171 Subd. 5),
o    APRN, CNM (148.171 Subd. 10)
o    APRN, CNP (148. Subd. 11)
o    APRN, CRNA (148. Subd. 21)

•    Under new 148.171 Subd.12b, APRNs must have educational preparation and be certified for a particular “population focus,” which includes: 
o    family and individual across the life span
o    adult gerontology
o    neonatal
o    pediatrics
o    women’s and gender-related health; and
o    psychiatric and mental health.

•    In order to qualify for licensure, new nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists must still complete 2080 hours of “postgraduate practice” within the context of a collaborative agreement and setting, but that collaborative agreement can be with a physician or APRN (148.211 Subd.1c).  

•    Newly amended 148.235 Subd 7a outlines the independent prescriptive authority of APRNs. The former restrictive language that required a written prescribing agreement with a physician was repealed. 

•    And finally, last but certainly not least, the new law grandfathers into practice those APRNs who are licensed to practice as of July 1, 2014 but unable to meet the educational requirements of the new statute (148.211 Subd. 1b).
    
If you have questions, need more information, or want specific advice about the new law, give me a call!