Alaska Board of Nursing

How do you get certified and licensed as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in your state?

Go to the Alaska Board of Nursing website, download and complete all requirements of the application.

What is the application process for certification in your state?

Complete the application, which is available online, and submit fees, send official transcripts, national certification, professional reference, continuing education, consultation and referral plan, and certification that the applicant passed the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Alaska Board of Nursing, 2018).

What is your state’s board of nursing website? https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardofNursing.aspx

How does your state define the scope of practice of a nurse practitioner?

NPs can practice independently without physician oversight and are considered as primary care providers. They must clearly define the population that they specialize in. NPs have full prescriptive authority and can prescribe Schedules II-V controlled substances (NCLS, 2021).

What is included in your state practice agreement?

NPs must abide by the nursing statutes and regulations particularly, Article 4. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (Alaska Board of Nursing, 2021).

How do you get a DEA license?

Go to the DEA website and use Form 224 “New Application for Registration”. (Diversion Control Division, 2016)

Does your state have a prescription monitoring program (PMP)?

According to the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development website, yes, and requires mandatory registration.  

How does your state describe a nurse practitioner’s controlled-substance prescriptive authority, and what nurse practitioner drug schedules are nurse practitioners authorized to prescribe?

Alaska NPs have full prescriptive authority in accordance to state and federal laws and “prescriptive authority must be renewed biennially with the APRN licensure” (Legal Information Institute. (2018-b). NPs may “prescribe and dispense schedule II – V controlled substances” (Legal Information Institute, 2018-a).

There does not appear to be any barriers to practicing independently in Alaska. NPs can own and operate their own clinics without physician oversight or practice independently elsewhere within the state such as a hospital. One thing that surprised me is that NPs are considered midlevel practitioners. This typically translates to significantly lower salaries and insurance reimbursements compared to a psychiatrist.  

References

Alaska Board of Nursing. (2021). Statutes and regulations nursing. Retrieved from https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/5/pub/NursingStatutes.pdf

Alaska Board of Nursing. (2018). Advanced practice registered nurse application instructions. Retrieved from https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardofNursing.aspx

Diversion Control Division. (2016). DEA Form 224 – New application for registration. Retrieved from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugreg/reg_apps/224/224_instruct.htm#1

Legal Information Institute. (2018-a). 12 Alaska Admin. Code § 44.445. Controlled substance prescriptive and dispensing authority. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/regulations/alaska/Alaska-Admin-Code-Title-12-SS-44-445

Legal Information Institute. (2018-b). 12 Alaska Admin. Code § 44.440. Prescriptive authority. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/regulations/alaska/Alaska-Admin-Code-Title-12-SS-44-440

NCLS. (2021). Scope of practice policy. Retrieved from https://scopeofpracticepolicy.org/states/ak/

I found it interesting that nurse practitioners can work independently without any physician oversight right after getting licensed in Alaska. I am currently living in California, a restricted practice state in which nurse practitioners must collaborate with a physician and have a standardized procedure in place for prescribing medications. It has been shown that nurse practitioners with full practice authority provide cost-effective care, especially in underserved areas, and have high-quality outcomes with their patients (Hahn, 2018). According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, full practice authority provides greater access to care, removes delays in care, decreases cost, and protects patients’ choices in choosing a provider (2021).  Hopefully, evidence like this will continue to support the need for full practice authority in all states.

References

American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2021). Issues a glance: Full practice authority. https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/advocacy-resource/policy-briefs/issues-full-practice-brief

Hahn, J. A. (2018). Lessons Learned from Nurse Practitioner Independent Practice: A Conversation with a Nurse Practitioner Entrepreneur. Nursing Economic$36(1), 18–22.

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