The Practice Boundaries of Advanced Practice Nurses: An Economic and Legal Analysis
The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of State regulation that determines the extent of professional independence of advanced practice nurses (APNs). We find that in States where APNs have acquired a substantial amount of professional independence, the earnings of APNs are substantially lower, and those of physicians’ assistants (PAs) are substantially higher, than in other States. These results are striking since PAs are in direct competition with APNs; the only real operational difference between these groups is that PAs are salaried employees who must work under the supervision of a physician. The implication is that physicians have responded to an increase in professional independence of APNs by hiring fewer APNs and more PAs. The finding that earnings of APNs decline when they attain more professional autonomy vis-à-vis physicians reinforces work by Sass and Nichols on physical therapists. Copyright Springer 2005
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