Nurse practitioners push for law change

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Oklahoma nurse practitioners are pushing lawmakers to lift restrictions on their profession with an initiative called "Right 2 Choose."

House Bill 1013 would allow nurse practitioners to work to the full extent of their education and training.

"There are not enough physicians all the time so, we are there to take care of the patients and they can get all the care they need with me," said Audrey Obinero, Nurse Practitioner Lawton Community Health Center. "Primary care needs, the female can get their good women exams, the male can get their wellness exams done yearly and everything they need from a primary care provider."

Obinero says each week she provides care to over 50 patients.

For those that need extensive care like physical therapy and home health care orders, she and other Oklahoma nurse practitioners are required to sign a collaborative agreement with a physician. Which is what Obinero said that's one of the biggest restrictions she faces.

"I have patients that have been on such medications chronically for a long period of time and they want to come see me," said Obinero. "But because I cannot prescribe certain drugs they need to see another provider."

In 2014 the FDA reclassified Hydrocodone as a schedule two drugs. This affected Oklahoma and 11 other states ability to prescribe highly addictive drugs like morphine or Adderall.

"And it's a big problem because many people are needing that genuinely and the nurse practitioner cannot sign off on those,' said Obinero.

Besides that Obinero said most importantly she believes nurse practitioners like herself should have the opportunity to utilize their training and education to complete full care on their own.

"It is for the good of the community because the primary physicians cannot do it all,' she said. "The more people understand that the nurse practitioners are there to help them and to make things easier and time for them that would be a big help."

Last year House Bill 1013 made its way through the house and since then some physicians have been opposed to this, one of the reasons they cite are that nurses do not receive the same amount of training as physicians.

The bill must pass out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee before April 12.

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