JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Fearing a looming doctor shortage, Florida lawmakers are opening the door to nurses being allowed to open their own practices and even prescribe narcotics.
The bill recently passed a House committee.
Some patients told Action News they wish their nurses could write a prescription without a doctor's approval.
"I feel like it would be easier to go to a nurse instead of spending all the money on a doctor to get a prescription," said a woman from Orange Park.
State lawmakers feel the same way. A House subcommittee voted in favor of a bipartisan bill to increase nurse practitioners' powers, allowing them to write prescriptions of controlled substances and even clear the way for these RNs to set up their own practices without supervision of Florida doctors, who as you'd imagine, don't like the proposed law.
"People who don't go to medical school shouldn't act like doctors," said Dr. Daniel Kantor, president-elect of the Duval County Medical Society.
Kantor agrees with the Florida Medical Association's position that this new bill is an overreaction to deal with the state's pending doctor shortage.
"Why do we need to create a larger and larger pool of people who are able to write controlled substances when controlled substances are already being written too much?" said Kantor, "It just doesn't make good sense."
The legislation must clear a huge hurdle in the Senate now that Don Gaetz, president of the Florida Senate, has voiced opposition to the bipartisan House bill.