Expanding role of nurse practitioners

Nurse Practitioner Surani Hayre-Kwan, left, and NP student Kristina Crichton laugh during an office visit with long-time patient John Donaldson, a Guerneville resident who relies on Hayre-Kawn as his primary care physician to manage diabetes. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

By Ana. B. Ibarra

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

AB 890 would expand the role of nurse practitioners and allow them to practice independently in some settings, without a supervising physician. Assemblymember Jim Wood, a Democrat from Healdsburg, has pitched this bill as a way to help the state’s provider shortage.

WHO SUPPORTS IT?

Nurse practitioners have been trying to lift restrictions on their scope of practice for years. The nurses’ union as well as the state’s hospital association are among the bill’s supporters.

WHO’S OPPOSED?

California’s doctor lobby argues that this bill is a threat to patient safety and that it doesn’t necessarily guarantee growth in the provider workforce. 

WHY IT MATTERS: Nurse practitioners are highly trained nurses with a master’s degree,  who work largely in primary care, an area of great need in the state. By some projections, California would need about 8,200 more primary care doctors by 2030. 

GOVERNOR’S CALL:

Newsom signed this bill into law on Sept. 29.