Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental hygienists and dental therapists are health care providers who have formal certification through the licensing bodies in their states. These practitioners are increasingly being used to render services autonomously, particularly in rural and underserved areas, to make up for provider shortages. A practitioner’s scope of practice refers to what a health professional can and cannot do to or for a patient, and is defined by state professional regulatory boards—typically with the guidance or instruction of the state’s legislature.
State legislators and other state health policymakers consider a broad range of issues related to scope of practice, including health care professionals’ supervision requirements, prescriptive authority and other requirements for practice. These issues are highlighted on this website, with information from the states, D.C. and territories about current legislation affecting scope of practice.
For more information on specific practitioners, please click the links below.