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Anesthesiologist concerned about idea of less supervision for nurses

A Tampa Bay area doctor worries a bill that would give advanced practice nurses autonomy in Florida could impact surgical outcomes.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
A nurse at a doctor's office, stock image.

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — When you feel sick, you want to get to the doctor as soon as you can.

But, if you live where you don't have many options or your doctor is booked weeks out, that doesn't happen. A lawmaker from Sebring is trying to expand options by allowing nurse practitioners to work on their own without a supervising physician. That's legal in about two dozen other states.

Nurse practitioners have advanced degrees, but they are the only health care professionals that have this supervision mandate in Florida. It doesn't apply to chiropractors, pharmacists, physical or occupational therapists. 

A doctor in Clearwater is concerned about nurse anesthetists giving anesthesia without supervision.

“The benefit of having a physician anesthesiologist or a physician involved in some manner with the anesthetic has been proven over time in terms of rescue. And, what rescue simply means is that when something bad happens to a patient, will the outcome be different? Will that person have less morbidity and mortality if there’s a physician or a physician anesthesiologist involved in their care? And the answer consistently is yes,” Dr. Jay Epstein told 10News.

This is the seventh time Representative Cary Pigman from Sebring has filed this bill. Here’s a look at HB 607

The House Speaker says it will be a priority to get it passed this legislative session. In Speaker Jose Oliva’s opening remarks for the 2020 session, he said, “Allowing advanced nurse practitioners to practice independently will have an immediate positive effect on access and affordability.”

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