Park Ridge, Ill. - On Monday, June 17, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a bill (S.B. 614/H.B. 5656) into law that has removed a significant barrier to the practice of nurse anesthesia for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) across the state. This law removes “under the supervision of” in the state’s Nurse Practice Act and now provides that CRNAs practice “in collaboration with,” anesthesiologists, licensed physicians, or licensed dentists.
Rhode Island is the first state to remove the CRNA supervision requirement language from a state nursing law or rule since 1999. The bills passed unanimously in both houses, with the House passing H.B. 5656 by a vote of 72 to zero and the Senate passing S.B. 614 by a vote of 37 to zero.
The new law is consistent with the latest recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report titled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health
,” released in October 2010, which urges policymakers to remove policy barriers that hinder nurses—particularly advanced practice registered nurses such as CRNAs—from practicing to the full extent of their education and training. The report offers further evidence that advanced practice registered nurses should be a major part of the solution to the nation’s healthcare issues, especially ensuring access to care in medically underserved areas.
Rhode Island became the 40th state to have no supervision requirement for CRNAs in the nurse practice acts, board of nursing rules and regulations, and medical practice acts or board of medicine rules and regulations.