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

      Abstract

      Background

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

      Purpose

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

      Method

      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.

      Discussion

      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.

      Conclusions

      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.

      Keywords

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