It’s also important to consider the practice environment before becoming a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP). The American Association of Nurse Practitioners divides practice environments into three categories: full, reduced, and restricted.
Full practice is the best option since it gives CNPs the authority to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients. They can also prescribe controlled substances and other medications without working with a physician. This gives CNPs autonomy at work while allowing them to provide a higher level of care. States with full practice authority also avoid bottlenecks and lack of access in the healthcare system since people can receive treatment from CNPs.
Unfortunately, West Virginia is a reduced practice state due to some rules that lessen providers’ authority. For instance, West Virginia requires CNPs to enter into collaborative agreements with physicians, so they cannot rely on their licenses alone. Also, CNPs cannot prescribe schedule II controlled substances.
Fortunately, this is better than working in a restricted practice state. When that’s the case, your powers are restricted instead of merely reduced.
While reduced authority is preferred over restricted authority, you’ll benefit if West Virginia switches to a full practice environment. You can join in the fight to achieve full practice authority by working alongside the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The organization’s advocacy center includes actionable ways for you to assist.
You can participate in advocacy while starting down the path to becoming a licensed CNP. Start by becoming an RN and then move forward to get your CNP license. While the process takes several years to complete, you’ll get to start a rewarding, high-paying career once you reach the end. That will make all the hard work well worth it.