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50th NP Anniversary and Looking Ahead
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2015 marked the 50th anniversary of NPs, the 40th anniversary of Nurse Practitioners of Oregon (NPO) and the 30th anniversary of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). AANP celebrated the profession by launching a multimedia campaign highlighting the NP degree program, designed “to strengthen public policymaker awareness of the critical role NPs play in delivering high quality, affordable and accessible health care to millions of Americans.”

The first NP degree program began in 1965 at the University of Colorado and is also celebrating its 50th year. Loretta Ford, EdD, PNP, FAAN, and Henry Silver, MD, a pediatrician, co-founded the program. Dr. Ford was interviewed for an article 50 years of NP Excellence, carried in the May 2015 edition of The Nurse Practitioner. During the interview Ford noted, “We started this for the health needs of people, not because of a shortage of physicians.”…“My strength was public health and his (Silver’s) was child development.” Ford and Silver met with many state boards of nursing and medicine to let them know what the program entailed. Ford continued, “I was sure it was the right thing to do.”

Oregon’s first NP role was initiated ten years later. In 1775 G. Jay Butler, RN, Gilliam County Oregon, met with county officials and proposed his practice model in order to provide health care to underserved rural areas. NP practice has grown steadily and today, The Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) lists over 2,650 NPs practicing in 13 focus areas and 34 counties throughout the state.

Oregon’s NPs have historically been national leaders in advancing the profession, often through passage of legislation.

Oregon’s NP milestones include:

  • 1979: NP prescriptive privileges in the State of Oregon
  • 1985: NP’s change governing bodies from the Board of Medical Examiners to the Oregon State Board of Nursing
  • 1990: authority to provide Workers Compensation care
  • 1991: reimbursement for Medicare/Medicaid care
  • 1992: NPs authorization for Oregon Department of Transportation employee physicals
  • 1993: NPs authorization for Department of Motor Vehicle employee physicals, Special Education student exams
  • 1993: Prescriptive Authority Council abolished; maintained formulary
  • 1999: NPs achieve schedule II authority
  • 2001: authority to sign death certificates and admit to Home Health care
  • 2002: NPs given electronic prescription transmission privileges – Omnibus Bill: cleaned up State statues that identified physician and now say “physician and NP 2008 Formulary abolished
  • 2009: Oregon Health Fund Board recommendations for integrated health home continue to support a range of providers including NPs
  • 2010: NPs are allowed to delegate dispensing to trained office staff in health care settings
  • 2013: payment parity with physicians
  • and 2015: ONA revisited our historic payment parity legislation to make important technical corrections and worked to expand advanced practice nurses’ scope of practice and reduce burdens on providers.

In anticipation of the 50th Anniversary of the nurse practitioner, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of American Association of Nurse Practitioners (JAANP), Charon A. Pierson, PhD, GNP, FAAN, FAANP, identified four major issues NPs need to address over the next 50 years: outcomes research, education of clinical/research scholars, political advocacy and business preparedness.

Pierson’s editorial ran in the April 28, 2015 edition and referenced the following JAANP articles as NPs to begin to grapple with addressing these concerns:

  • Arons, R. R., & Taub, L.-F. M. (2015). The use of large healthcare data sets in
    pursuit of a clinical question. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27(5), 236–239.
  • Kostas-Polston, E. A., Thanavaro, J., Arvidson, C., & Taub, L.-F. M. (2015).
    Advanced practice nursing: Shaping health through policy. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27(5), 11–20.
  • Sharp, D. B., & Monsivais, D. (2014). Decreasing barriers for nurse practitioner social entrepreneurship. American Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27(10), 562–566.
  • Wysocki, K., Underwood, P., & Kelly-Weeder, S. (2015). An essential piece of nursing’s future: The continued development of the nurse practitioner as expert clinician and scientist. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27(4), 178–180.

If you would like additional information on the history of NPO, please click here.

If you would like to see a comprehensive national NP timeline, visit the AANP website here.


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