In December the Department of Veterans Affairs published its final rule that granted full practice authority to three of the four advanced practice registered nursing specialties. This ruling excluded Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). The VA acknowledges that CRNAs are qualified to practice independently and there are many studies supporting this but still chose to exclude them.
I do not agree with the negative articles that were written on this topic. One article stated The Veterans Affairs Department is taking heat over a proposal to allow highly trained nurses to act as doctors and even administer anesthesia without a doctors supervision (McKelway 2016). This article does not describe what a highly trained nurse is or what kind of education is mandated for these advanced practice nurses to practice at their level. Later in the article they actually call CRNAs by their proper name instead of highly trained nurses. The VA has described two reasons against allowing independent practice for CRNAs. The first reason they gave was that by allowing CRNAs independent practice the VA would be eliminating the team-based concept of care in anesthesia. The second reason is the VA claims that there is not an access to anesthesia problem. This claim is not supported because there is a significant delay in care for veterans. It can take months for them to be able to see a doctor and/or have surgery. Cheryl Nimmo who wrote an article for Forbes magazine stated By granting full practice authority to CRNAs the VA would make full use of more than 900 CRNAs already practicing in VHA facilities ensuring our nations veterans have access to essential surgical emergency obstetric and pain management healthcare services without needless delays or having to travel long distances for care.
I personally do not understand how the VA can only eliminate CRNAs from practicing independently. The reasons they give for excluding CRNAs are not valid. Hopefully with the strong voices that CRNAs have they will change their ruling.