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Illinois Nurses can now Diagnose, Treat Patients and Prescribe By Bob Rakow
Date Posted: 21/Sep/2017
Illinois Nurse Practitioner Act signed into law
 
The next time you need to see a doctor, you might be able to get treatment from a nurse instead. That’s because some nurses just got expanded capabilities in Illinois.
 
Flanked by several nurses and hospital officials, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Nurse Practice Act into law Sept. 20 during a ceremony at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.
 
The legislation is significant, as it gives advanced practice registered nurses additional tools to manage patients with chronic conditions and other illnesses.
 
Additionally, the Nurse Practice Act helps fill the gap created by a shortage of critical care providers throughout the state by enabling advanced practice registered nurses who meet certain requirements to practice without a written collaborative agreement with a physician, hospital officials said.
Specifically, the new law allows these nurses to diagnose, treat and prescribe some medications to their patients from their own practices.
 
“This bill is an important piece of legislation,” Rauner said. “We’re knocking down barriers and restrictions. It supports our nurses, who do an outstanding job.”
 
There are 859 nurses at Good Samaritan, of whom about 20 are advanced practice registered nurses.
 
“Nurses indeed are the backbone of our health care system,” Advocate Health Care President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh said.
 
An advanced practice registered nurse holds at least a master’s degree in nursing. Further specialization within this nursing category includes nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists.
 
“I am so proud to see the necessary changes signed into law,” Good Samaritan Chief Nursing Officer Susan Campbell said.
 
State Rep. David Olsen, R-Downers Grove, who attended the ceremony, was a supporter of the legislation. He said it removes over-burdensome regulations that have caused some highly trained nurses to seek employment in other states.
 
“This new law makes Illinois the 26th state to offer its most highly-skilled nurses greater authority as they tend to patients’ needs,” Olsen said in a news release. “It increases regulatory efficiency, improves licensing processing times, and most importantly it helps us retain the best and brightest nurses here in Illinois. In rural areas especially, this new law should improve access to quality healthcare.”

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