Oklahoma Senate passes nurse independence compromise
The Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed legislation Monday to expand the authority of nurse anesthetists.
The yearslong dispute between Oklahoma nurses and doctors resulted in what Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, called a compromise between all parties involved.
The amended legislation would change state law that requires nurse anesthetists to be supervised by doctors. Under the legislation, nurse anesthetists will work in collaboration with doctors to administer anesthesia.
Representatives from the Oklahoma Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association and the Oklahoma Society of Anesthesiologists praised the compromise legislation.
“This shows when we work together, we can accomplish even better health outcomes for Oklahoma,” said Rosino, who authored the amendment.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, predicted the amended version of Senate Bill 801 will sail through the remaining legislative process because it’s a familiar issue in the Legislature.
“It doesn’t seem that big to the average Oklahoman, but I’ve been dealing with that since 2011,” Treat said. The bill that carried over from the 2019 legislative session now returns to the House.
Oklahoma is in the minority of states that require doctors to supervise nurse anesthetists.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story inaccurately described the legislation that passed. This story has been corrected to reflect that nurse anesthetists will work in collaboration with doctors to administer anesthesia.