Title: A Comparison of APRN Board of Nursing Regulations: Florida vs. California
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) play a vital role in healthcare, delivering comprehensive care that is increasingly in demand. As healthcare providers, APRNs must abide by specific regulations established by their respective state’s Board of Nursing. This paper will compare the APRN board of nursing regulations in the states of Florida and California and highlight differences between the two. Furthermore, this paper will explain how these regulations apply to APRNs with legal authority to practice within the full scope of their education and experience. Finally, it will provide examples of how APRNs can adhere to the selected regulations.
Comparison of APRN Board of Nursing Regulations – Florida and California:
1. Scope of Practice:
The scope of practice defines the services that APRNs are authorized to provide independently without supervision. In Florida, APRNs are allowed to practice and prescribe medications within their specialized area of practice, but they require physician collaboration for prescribing controlled substances, such as opioids (Florida Board of Nursing, 2021). Whereas, in California, APRNs are allowed to practice and prescribe medications within their full scope of practice, including controlled substances, without the need for physician collaboration (California Board of Registered Nursing, 2021). This difference in regulations reflects variations in the level of independence and autonomy granted to APRNs in Florida compared to California.
2. Prescriptive Authority:
Prescriptive authority refers to the ability of APRNs to prescribe medications independently. In Florida, APRNs have limited prescriptive authority and are allowed to prescribe medications within their specialized area of practice only after obtaining a written protocol agreement with a collaborating physician (Florida Board of Nursing, 2021). In contrast, California grants full prescriptive authority to APRNs, enabling them to prescribe medications independently in their scope of practice (California Board of Registered Nursing, 2021). This difference illustrates how the regulations between Florida and California impact the autonomy and flexibility of APRNs in providing optimal care to patients.
3. Continuing Education Requirements:
Continuing education plays a crucial role in maintaining competency and ensuring that APRNs are up-to-date with the latest developments in their field. In Florida, APRNs are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years for license renewal (Florida Board of Nursing, 2021). Conversely, California does not specify a specific number of continuing education hours for APRNs, although it strongly encourages ongoing professional development (California Board of Registered Nursing, 2021). This discrepancy suggests a differential emphasis on continuing education between the two states, potentially contributing to differences in the quality and currency of care provided by APRNs.
Application of the Selected Regulations to APRNs:
1. Example: Scope of Practice in Florida
An APRN in Florida, specializing in family practice, may treat patients with common illnesses, perform physical examinations, and prescribe non-controlled medications independently. However, for prescribing controlled substances, such as opioids, the APRN would need to collaborate with a physician under a written protocol agreement. This regulation ensures collaboration and consultation with physicians in the interest of patient safety, particularly in cases involving potentially addictive or harmful substances.
2. Example: Scope of Practice in California
In contrast, an APRN in California, specialized in family practice, has full authority to independently diagnose and treat patients, including prescribing controlled substances like opioids. This autonomy allows APRNs to address patients’ needs promptly and without unnecessary delays due to the requirement of physician collaboration.