Armed with new evidence showing nurse anesthetists improve patient care, the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA) today urged Florida Lawmakers to take up and pass legislation to cut red tape rules and provide nurse anesthetists with the independence and accountability they need to provide patient care to the full extent and scope of their education and training. The group pointed to a new study from the AANA Foundation showing COVID-19 emergency orders suspending nurse anesthetist oversight rules spurred increased patient access to care and erased unnecessary layers of supervision.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed health care delivery and has exposed red tape that stands in the way of delivering high-quality care to patients,” said FANA President John McDonough, EdD, CRNA. “Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists have unselfishly stepped up to unthinkable challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver safe, effect, and high-quality care. The state can immediately improve patient care by cutting needless red tape and free nurse anesthetists to assume expanded roles and apply their expert knowledge and skills to patient care.”
In the study, “From the OR to the Front lines: Shared Experiences of CRNAs during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” published in the AANA Journal, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) were deployed across the country to care for patients infected with the virus. The study found, when oversight red tape is removed, nurse anesthetists:
- Put Special Skills to Work for Patients: In one hospital, after an intensivist abandoned duty in an ICU with 70 patients on a ventilator, nurse anesthetists filled the role because scope-of-practice rules were removed. According to the study, some CRNAs functioned as intensive care nurses but with expanded roles where they could apply their advanced practice skills such as intubation, central line placement, medication management, and provision of regional anesthesia, and to act as a resource person for the management of ICU patients.
- Emerged as Leaders Among Health Care Providers: Quite a few of the participating CRNAs stepped into leadership roles. They were part of hospital task forces, developed protocols for caring for patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19), and became essential advisors in educating healthcare personnel on issues such as proper donning and doffing of PPE. Some even cited serving as leaders on hospital incident command teams.
The study’s findings are why FANA supports legislation like HB 111 and SB 424, that are currently before the Florida Legislature, that would cut obsolete oversight rules and allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to practice to their full education and training without physician supervision.
More than half of the states in the U.S. now allow APRNs and CRNAs to work autonomously. Numerous independent studies show no difference in the safety or quality of care when APRNs administer the services they have been educated and trained to deliver, compared to physicians providing the same services. Likewise, in states where CRNAs practice independently, there is no evidence of increased risk to patients or claims.
About the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Founded in 1936, The Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA) represents more than 5,400 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in Florida. FANA advocates for our patients and members in legislative and governmental affairs and serves as a resource for CRNAs, the nursing and medical professions, hospitals, health care facilities, and others interested in anesthesia care. For more information visit www.fana.org.
About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Founded in 1931 and located in Park Ridge, Ill., and Washington, D.C., the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is the professional organization representing nearly 54,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists across the United States. As advanced practice registered nurses and anesthesia specialists, CRNAs administer more than 49 million anesthetics to patients in the United States each year and are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America. In some states, CRNAs are the sole anesthesia professionals in nearly 100 percent of rural hospitals. For more information, visit www.aana.com and www.future-of-anesthesia-care-today.com.