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The Nursing Autonomy Project

We will seek to identify health care practices that may undermine nursing's status as an autonomous profession and then work to improve those practices. For instance:

Is a provider's authorization for a medication or treatment generally referred to as a "prescription" or "care plan," or is it instead referred to by the damaging misnomer "order," which wrongly suggests that nurses follow physician plans without question?

Does prescribing software contain a user-friendly function for the nurse to state whether s/he agrees that the prescription appears to be in the patient's interest, with the ability to explain any concerns and to suggest an alternative treatment or medication if appropriate?

Do health forms and questionnaires require patients to supply the names of physicians even in practice areas in which their provider may be an APRN? HOSPITAL

Can nurses be further empowered to embrace their autonomy through reforms that limit what can be done in certain contexts without nursing agreement, for example as part of checklist protocols? HOSPITAL

Would it be helpful to remind nurses of their ethical duties to protect and advocate for patients, duties that apply even when physicians or other colleagues may wish care to proceed in a different way? NURSE EMPOWERMENT

Would it be useful to enhance the authority of the nursing management structure relative to the physician one? HOSPITAL

There are myriad practices within the health care system that can be improved to promote full nursing autonomy.

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