Utilization and Scope of Practice of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in Montana

Purpose
To explore the licensing, certification, governance and education requirements of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) in the state of Montana. Services provided and privileges retained in employment were also analyzed.
Data Sources
This was a descriptive study using a survey of rural hospital administrators (N=34).
Conclusions
Survey results show that 92.5% of PAs in Montana meet their supervision requirement by a telephone contact provision outlined by the state board of medicine. In contrast, 54.2% of NPs, who are autonomous by legal definition, have a telephone supervision requirement imposed on them by their employers.
Implications for Practice
These findings have implications for the current and prospective professionals and the businesses for which they work. Nurse practitioners and their professional organizations need to consider the implications these findings have on the professional image and marketability of all NPs.