Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill in the House of Delegates that would shorten the prerequisites for nurse practitioners. NP’s would only need two years of clinical experience to operate independently of a physician’s oversight. As Ashlie Rodriquez of 7 News  explained, “that may not be the good news you think it is”.

Physicians for Patient Protection’s Dr. Phil Shaffer explains in this 7 News segment that “A lot of NP’s are coming from bedside nursing” at a time when there’s already a nationwide shortage of over 80,000 bedside nurses. More bedside nurses will leave their job to become nurse practitioners if it pays more and requires less training and experience than previous rules mandated.

7 News explains in another segment with Dr. Phil Shaffer that the Virginia bill would move quickly to reduce experience and training for NPs. While there is a need for more nurses, nationally, patients need access to experts for proper diagnosis of conditions. “We’re talking about your health and life here”, said Dr. Shaffer. “Who would, given the choice, choose a person with 5% of the training of a physician, instead of the expert physician?”

The bill has passed the Virginia House of Delegates and is pending consideration in the Virginia Senate.

Read more in our alert to Virginia Physicians about this issue: The Virginia Legislature is Dismantling Physician-Led, Team-Based Care