As healthcare professionals, we all know CPR to mean “cardiopulmonary resuscitation,” and we have all been trained in how to perform it.
But CPR also has another important meaning to registered nurses, and especially to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). CPR stands for the Coalition for Patients’ Rights, an advocacy group made up of 37 organizations representing more than 3 million healthcare professionals. The nation’s 2.9 million registered nurses should be aware of this brand of CPR as well, as it ensures that patients have access to their choice of cost-effective healthcare services and protects nurses’ rights to provide those services.
CPR essentially is the watchdog group that dilutes the impact on patients of a divisive movement known as the Scope of Practice Partnership (SOPP). This partnership is a coalition of medical and osteopathic physician organizations formed by the American Medical Association that aims to limit nonphysicians’ scope of practice—the range of services that we are educated and licensed and/or certified to provide.
SOPP is attempting to restrict the scope of practice of nurses and other healthcare professionals through initiatives to change laws or regulations at the state or federal level, such as amending the practice acts under a State Board of Nursing or changing health insurance reimbursement policies. If SOPP efforts are successful, APRNs, which include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists, could see their current scope of practice chipped away.
ANA took the lead in 2006 in forming CPR as a way to be vigilant and proactive in protecting patients’ rights to have direct access to the full scope of services offered by nurses and other legally authorized healthcare providers of their choice. We believe there is strength in numbers and in presenting a unified front. CPR members include national professional membership organizations representing chiropractors, psychologists, therapists, naturopathic physicians, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals whose practices could be affected.
CPR is well-organized and ready to identify and oppose efforts to restrict scopes of practice. This includes a communications plan to ensure our messages are delivered to state and federal policy makers, the media, and the general public.
CPR’s website is http://www.patientsrightscoalition.org. The password-protected, members-only section of the website has an “Environmental Scan” tool that will prove invaluable in CPR efforts. This searchable database serves as an “SOPP intelligence” repository, allowing CPR members to enter information about initiatives that affect patients’ rights and scope of practice from around the country.
Ultimately, CPR wants to work with all healthcare practitioners to improve the quality of patient care and patients’ access to care. But while we work to make progress toward that goal, we can’t afford to lose ground. We hope you will join CPR’s efforts by remaining aware of barriers and threats to patients’ rights and nurses’ scope of practice, and by sharing your information with your state nurses association. Our patients will benefit from your actions.
You may have noticed that this issue of American Nurse Today is a combined July/August issue. Due to the downturn in the advertising market, HealthCom Media will no longer be able to publish American Nurse Today as it has done to date. Effective with the July/Aug 2009 issue, American Nurse Today will be issued on a bimonthly basis.
Rest assured that this change in frequency will not affect the content of the journal in any way. American Nurse Today will continue to bring ANA members the comprehensive, reliable, and up-to-date clinical nursing information that you have come to rely on to enhance patient outcomes, develop your professional careers, and build your educational foundation of best practices.
Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR
American Nurses Association