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Nurses Score Victory With New Prescribing Powers, Transfer Compact Signed Into Law

A young woman practices on a dummy.
Tallahassee Community College

Florida has joined a multi-state nursing compact making it easier for nurses from other states to practice here. And some highly trained nurses and physician assistants can now prescribe controlled medications. The measures became law Friday with the approval of Governor Rick Scott. Elizabeth Markovich, a Tallahassee-based nurse practitioner, says the prescribing authority is long overdue.

“We are very, very happy. This will benefit the patients of Florida in so many settings—pain control, nursing homes and so forth," she said.

Florida is the last state to allow advanced registered nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances like oxycodone. Physician assistants have also worked for decades for the expanded authority. And more and more medications are being added to the controlled list--making it harder for patients to access them without a physician signing off.  The move came after the Florida Medical Association dropped its longtime opposition to the bill.

Nurses from other states would also have an easier path to work in Florida now that the state has joined a multi-state compact.

*Editor's Note: The story has been expanded to include physician assistants. PA's are also now able to prescribe controlled medications.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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