The effects of state-level scope-of-practice regulations on the number and growth of nurse practitioners



      It is widely recognized that there is significant state-level variation in scope-of-practice regulations (SSoPRs) for nurse practitioners (NPs).


      This study was designed to examine whether SSoPRs influence labor markets for NPs.


      Cross-sectional analysis examining how SSoPRs influence the number and growth in NPs; data from the Area Resource File and 2008 Pearson report were used.


      Restrictive SSoPRs reduced the number of NPs by about 10 per 100,000 and reduced the growth rate by 25%. No difference was found between states with the most restriction and those with some restrictions.


      These results imply that changes to practice regulations should not be incremental but should follow the current practices in the least restrictive states. Results also indicate that other factors (poverty, uninsurance rates, rurality) decreased the number of NPs, suggesting that solving the primary care provider shortage will require multiple strategies.


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