Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse? 

APRNs include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives, and all play a pivotal role in the future of health care. APRNs are often primary care providers and are at the forefront of providing preventive care services to the public.APRNs treat and diagnose illnesses, advise the public on health issues, manage chronic disease, and engage in continuous education to remain ahead of any technological, methodological, or other developments in the field. APRNs hold at least a Master’s degree, in addition to the initial nursing education and licensing required for all Registered Nurses (RNs). (American Nurses Association)


2) What does true full practice autonomy mean? 

Autonomy allows NPs to practice to the maximum extent of their advanced education, participate in productive and voluntarily collaborations, and continue to positively influence health care discrepancies throughout the United States. (Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2020


3) Don’t APRN’s already have full autonomous practice in Florida? 

No. By law, “autonomous APRN’s” can only practice primary care, general internal medicine, or pediatrics. The wording of the law makes what APRN’s can perform or offer to patients ambiguous at best. Since the law passed in 2020, there continue to be numerous questions of just what exactly an APRN can and can not do. This opens APRN’s up to potential legal ramifications, thus keeping many APRN’s from opening practices. If APRN’s in Florida were granted true full practice authority, as APRN’s in 28 states and the District of Columbia, more options would be available for the public to receive health care. 


4) How will granting true full autonomous practice benefit the citizens of Florida? 

By granting true full practice authority to APRN’s in Florida, the public will benefit by having more options to receive their health care. Currently, Florida has a shortage of physicians of over 4000 physicians as of 2019, and that number is only getting worse. The Florida Medical Associations estimates Florida will need an additional 4,671 physicians by 2030. That’s a 38% increase from the current numbers. That means that 1/6th of ALL graduating physicians would have to come to Florida to practice. By contrast, there are CURRENTLY over 9000 Autonomous APRN’s in Florida. Many of them have chosen to not open their own practce, due to the current uncertainty of the laws. If the laws were changed to allow TRUE full practice authority (as 28 other states currently allow), the shortage would vanish overnight! 

5) What is the scope of practice for APRN’s? 

While the specific scope of practice is set forth in state law in the Nurse Practice Act, in general, the nursing scope and standards of practice are defined by the American Nurses Association as follows: 

The Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice describe the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how” of nursing practice:

Who: Registered Nurses (RN) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) comprise the “who” constituency and have been educated, titled, and maintain active licensure to practice nursing.

What: Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities; prevention of illness and injury; facilitation of healing; alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response; and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.

Where: Wherever there is a patient in need of care.

When: Whenever there is a need for nursing knowledge, compassion, and expertise.

Why: The profession exists to achieve the most positive patient outcomes in keeping with nursing’s social contract and obligation to society.

When each of these questions is answered, the complex considerations in scope of practice become clear. In a profession as dynamic as nursing, and with evolving health care demands, changes in scope of practice and overlapping responsibilities are inevitable in our current and future health care system.

6) What makes the APRN scope of practice different from what the scope of practice is for physicians? 

The biggest difference is in the wording of the laws for each profession. While APRN’s are limited to primary care, general internal medicine, and pediatrics, physicians are licensed to practice in all areas of health care that are concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, operation, or prescription for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity, or other physical or mental condition. This distinction gives a broad range of options to physicians to offer their patients, while severely limiting APRN’s to what they can offer. It also limits the ability of APRN’s to offer services to patients in areas of Florida that are not well served by physicians, limiting their ability to avail themselves of these services. In effect, it unfairly limits competition.