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Scope of Practice Restrictions and Vulnerable Populations

Penn Nursing and the Leonard Davis Institute (LDI) of Health Economics teamed up to explore the issue’s changing dynamics at both the national and Pennsylvania state levels.

Leading experts from nursing, medicine, dentistry, law, and economics gathered virtually on November 20, 2020 for two different discussions on scope of practice: the morning session addressed scope of practice at the national level; and the afternoon session focused on the state of scope of practice specific to nurses in Pennsylvania. Penn Nursing was well represented in both. Dean Antonia Villarruel, PhD; J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD; Matthew McHugh, PhD; and Julie Fairman, PhD, were featured as panel experts during the national discussion. They were joined by other leading experts to discuss the current gaps in health professional scope of practice, the future of scope of practice reform after COVID-19, and how to rethink scope of practice to better meet community needs and reduce barriers to care.

The afternoon session of the conference focused on nursing. Institutional, state, and federal barriers often prevent nurses from practicing at the full scope of their license and education. To meet the rising demand for care during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and state governments—including Pennsylvania—have waived these requirements temporarily, thereby increasing access to efficient, quality care for communities. Villarruel, McHugh, and Brooks Carthon, were joined by Ashley Ritter, PhD, to lead the discussion on expanding scope of practice for nurses in the Keystone State. It focused on current policy debates in order to craft recommendations for the path forward.

To read more about this conference, please click here to access a blog post written by Hoag Levins, Editor of Digital Publications at LDI.