As we transition into a new decade, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) continue to move forward in the US in spite of recurring challenges and legislative barriers to full practice authority (FPA). Purpose, Position, Passion, and Perseverance was the title of my January 2006 Editor's Memo. This was the first memo I wrote about the journal's annual Legislative Update. In that editorial, I said, “Nurse practitioners have always represented a breed of risk-takers. Even though old challenges that continue to restrict NP practice are fewer, new ones invariably appear to take their place.”1
In the 2020 update, Dr. Susanne Phillips, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, reports on NP practice in each state, highlighting new or outstanding bills that impact FPA. Important topics covered include opioid prescribing and management, telehealth policy adoption, the endless hurdles in home health services, transition-to-practice controversies, and tax incentives for APRN preceptors. Not all proposed legislation is positioned to reduce APRN practice but for bills or amendments that will further restrict or reduce practice authority, APRN groups work tirelessly strategizing how to change the language before passage in the legislature or how to garner support to defeat the effort.
The Legislative Update celebrates the legislative successes of the previous year and reminds us of the continuing challenges to overcome. In the 2006 Editor's Memo, I noted that NPs were 100,000 strong; today there are over 270,000 NPs, and 2020 is the perfect time for all our voices to be heard.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of all that nurses and midwives do to improve the health of the global population. The WHO notes that a major contributing factor to successfully meeting their primary goal—universal healthcare coverage for every citizen of the world by 2030—will be to engage nurses.
The intent of this special designation is to challenge countries to elevate nursing and midwifery and tangibly demonstrate how valuable these professionals are in bridging communities and complex healthcare systems. The 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth sparked the idea, and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has declared May 12, 2020, as International Nurses Day. We celebrate National Nurses Week from May 6 to May 12 in the US. The American Nurses Association, an ICN member, often provides promotional materials you can use in your workplaces to celebrate.
Another milestone this year is the culmination of Healthy People 2020, one goal of which was to “improve access to comprehensive, quality health care services.” APRNs are well positioned to increase access for many. Soon the nation and policy makers will begin work to achieve Healthy People 2030 goals, which hopefully align with the WHO's goal of universal healthcare coverage for all by 2030.
The Nurse Practitioner plans to honor the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by offering special article collections, podcasts, and more throughout the year. The journal now has 12 regular columns and departments to meet the needs of readers. There is much in 2020 to celebrate. One day, the annual Legislative Update will declare FPA in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all US territories. Supporting professional organizations' political action committees through personal action and monetary contributions is critical to our legislative success at local, state, and national levels. Never waver on a dream.
Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN
1. Newland JA. Purpose, position, passion, and perseverance. Nurse Pract