Last week, Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota signed a bill allowing nurse practitioners to practice independently after completing 1,040 hours of physician-supervised practice, according to Healthcare Dive.
The article cites a report by the Health Resources & Services Administration which estimates that the need for primary care physicians will have risen 14% from 2010 to 2020, meaning 241,400 physicians would be needed to fill the void. Bills such as South Dakota’s would allow nurse practitioners to relieve much of that burden. In fact, 22 other states have signed similar legislation so far.
In a press release, Gov. Daugaard spoke to the benefits of nurse practitioner autonomy for South Dakota:
There is a need for more health care professionals in rural areas of our state. This bill will eliminate a hurdle for some nurse practitioners and midwives who want to serve in those high-need communities.