Newswise — PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AANA)— Delaware patients now have increased access to safe, affordable care with the signing of  HB 141 by Governor John Carney. The law removes a collaborative agreement and grants advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), full practice authority.

“This law will undoubtedly increase patient access to quality care by allowing CRNAs to practice to the full extent of their education and training,” said Jacqueline M. Mainwaring, DNP, MS, CRNA, APRN, president of the Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists (DANA). “Removing barriers to CRNA practice will allow hospitals and other critical care facilities to maximize their workforce and increase access to safe, affordable care for our patients.”

The law grants full practice authority with the APRN license, defining advanced practice registered nursing as an “expanded scope of nursing licensed as an independent licensed practitioner.” The law also changes the composition of the Delaware Board of Nursing’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Committee, which will now be composed solely of APRNs, including two CRNAs.

Delaware House Bill 21 was also signed into law, enacting the APRN interstate licensure compact. Delaware joins North Dakota in enacting this compact, which will facilitate APRN licensure across state lines when it is enacted in at least seven states.

“Contemporary healthcare requires an agile, mobile workforce, whether responding to healthcare provider shortages across the country or assisting during times of disaster,” said Mainwaring. “By passing this legislation, Delaware becomes a leader in the nation by moving CRNA practice to the next level.”

“The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) applauds Gov. Carney for recognizing the important role CRNAs have in delivery safe anesthesia care to the residents of Delaware,” said Steven M. Sertich, CRNA, MAE, JD, Esquire, AANA president. “Increased demand and limited resources dictate that a system capable of meeting the needs of all residents be maintained and this law provides that.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurse anesthetists across the country have been essential in addressing the deadliest part of disease in addition to providing top-of-the-line anesthesia care. They have served as experts in airway management, hemodynamic monitoring, management of patients on ventilators, and overall management of critically ill patients.