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Louisiana Nurse Practitioners

Career News September 21, 2013

Employed in all 50 states, nurse practitioners play an integral role in providing physicians with the tools to deliver quality health care. In order to become a Louisiana nurse practitioner, most states require that one must have a master degree.

Shortly after fulfilling the education requirement, each candidate must then be approved by the state board of nursing for their state. Most state boards have their own licensing and certification criteria to follow when approving nurse practitioners.

Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant: What’s the Difference?

Occasionally, the general public initially found it difficult to discern the differences between a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant. Upon further investigation, it becomes much easier for people to understand the difference. On one hand, a Louisiana nurse practitioner is required to have working experience. Meanwhile, a physician assistant is not required to have a health care or medical background.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who possess a Master of Science Nursing, along with extensive clinical experience. This allows the nurse practitioner to diagnose and manage a variety of common illnesses. NPs either work as part of a health care team or perform their work independently. The main areas of focus for a nurse practitioner include disease prevention, health maintenance and patient education.

Physician assistants are tasked with providing diagnostic and therapeutic services, in addition to preventative health care. PAs collaborate, with fellow team members, to report medical histories and interpret laboratory tests, as well as examining and treating patients.

Louisiana: Nurse Practitioners at-a-glance

Number of NPs: 2,361

NPs per 100,000 populations: 52

Who governs/grants licenses to NPs: Louisiana State Board of Nursing

Do you need to be an RN? Yes

Do you need a Master of Science in Nursing to become a NP?

Yes. A Louisiana nurse practitioner must have proof of receiving a Master of Science Nursing from an accredited intuition’s advanced nursing program.

Are there other requirements?

Yes. In addition to RN licensure, nurse practitioners must also have APRN licensure as well as 500 hours of practice within six months of applying for prescriptive authority. A Louisiana nurse practitioner must also have 36 hours of education in pharmacotherapeutics and undergo six hours of continuing education in pharmacology or pharmacologic management.

How much can a Nurse Practitioner earn in Louisiana?

$72,000 per year (Salaries vary based on the employment setting, geographic location, educational background and years of experience.)

Do NPs need a physician’s supervision for diagnosis and treatment?

No. Although collaborative practice agreements are required, for NPs to practice, Louisiana NPs practice on an autonomous basis.

Do NPs need a physician’s supervision to prescribe medication?

No. Nevertheless, NPs remain governed by collaborative practice agreements. These agreements require physicians to visit the site where the NP practices once a week, for documentation purposes.

Are there some drug classifications NPs cannot prescribe? If so, provide details:

Nurse practitioners in Louisiana do not have the authority to prescribe controlled substances for the purpose of controlling chronic pain or weight management.

Louisiana: Nurse Practitioner Outlook

Community Catalyst, a national advocacy group for health care reform, recently conducted a study highlighting both the successes and flaws of Medicaid care provision in its current state. Louisiana missed the mark when it came to expanding the use of nurse practitioners in primary health care.

Although current state law allows nurse practitioners to diagnose and prescribe autonomously, collaborative practice agreements restrict where NPs can provide primary care. Supporters hope to lift or curtail the practice of collaborative practice agreements.

According to the study, “One recent study shows that a 10 percent increase in primary care physician to patient ratio results in a 7 percent spending drop ($369) per Medicare beneficiary, on average. This suggests that increasing primary care capacity is a bridge to cost savings and better care.”

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