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Press Release - 4/16/2020

Georgia Advanced Practice Registered Nurses Seek Temporary Suspension of Practice Restrictions by Governor Kemp so Nurses can Serve Increased

Medical Needs During Pandemic

ATLANTA – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across Georgia and the nation, Georgia’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurses are reaching out to Governor Kemp, asking him to allow them to more efficiently and effectively care for patients. A new website offering information and seeing public support has been established by the Georgia Coalition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (CAPRN - https://caprn.org/), a statewide coalition of organizations representing registered nurses who have earned masters or doctorate degrees, and who practice as certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse-midwives

While they are highly trained and educated, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) must function under a patchwork of institutional, state and federal statutes and regulations that require physician oversight or otherwise limit APRN practice. As COVID-19 cases and fatalities increase across the state, Georgia CAPRN is asking Governor Kemp to exercise his emergency power to temporarily suspend the state’s restrictions on APRNs so they may care for their patients to the fullest extent of their education, training and capabilities. CAPRN is asking the public to voice their support for the temporary suspension of restrictions by visiting

https://gov.georgia.gov/contact-us/constituent-services.

“Georgia imposes some of the most restrictive regulations in the country on how APRNs are allowed to function,” said Michelle Nelson, Ph.D., MS, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, and co-director of Georgia CAPRN. “At the same time, states that have lifted these restrictions are reaching out to our nurses and offering incentives for them to travel to take care of patients in other parts of the country. Now, more than ever, we need our APRNs in Georgia, and we need to be able to easily mobilize to parts of our state that have been the most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. We are ready and willing to serve, but we are restricted. We are asking Governor Kemp to exercise his authority under the State of Emergency to temporarily suspend these restrictions so we can do the work we are educated and trained to do right here in Georgia.”

In addition to caring for patients with COVID-19, the temporary suspension of restrictions would aid APRNs who care for patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, as well as women giving birth and those needing anesthesia, according to Nelson. APRNs are especially critical in underserved areas where physicians and hospitals are scarce.

A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest healthcare philanthropic foundation, concluded: “Federal, state and institutional limits on APRN practice create delays in care, raise the cost of care and can make it difficult for many patients to locate primary care and other services. A growing body of research suggests that removing practice restrictions on NPs and other APRNs has the potential to reduce costs and improve access to care without compromising the quality of that care.”

“We realize our governor has a lot on his plate,” said Nelson. ‘However, he can temporarily suspend these restrictions with the stroke of a pen, allowing APRNs across the state to immediately offer faster and more efficient care to those who need us. I’m asking the public to please voice their support of this action by visiting https://gov.georgia.gov/contact-us/constituent-services.

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