New law gives Minnesota nurses more power

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

December 17, 2014

A shortage of physicians in Minnesota, especially in rural areas of the state, has given rise to a new state law that will allow some nurses to diagnose, write prescriptions, order tests and refer patients, things that in the past were only done by physicians or under a doctor’s supervision, according to a report from KARE-TV.

According to the report, the new law will go into effect in January, establishing some nurses as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. The new title will be given to nurses who have a bachelor’s degree, plus at least three years of specialized training. Some experts say up to 80% of primary care can be done safely by nurse practitioners. 

According to the report, several states already have APRNs and have not had any problems with patient safety. New nurses in Minnesota will have to work 2,080 hours under a doctor's supervision before they can work independently as an APRN.