Rules of the Game examines "blurry rules" of nurse practice authority

Dr. Sara Robertson of the University of Louisville's School of Nursing was the evening's presenter.
Rules of the Game examines "blurry rules" of nurse practice authority

Dr. Sara Robertson
Dr. Sara Robertson was the featured speaker at the February 11, 2019, Rules of the Game event.

Last month, an intimate gathering of Louisville’s town and gown met at the Speed Museum for the third installment of Rules of the Game.

This event series, generously sponsored by local leaders David Jones Jr. and Matthew Barzun, brings together members of the community and the University of Louisville for an evening of thought-provoking discussion about the rules we as a society live by, the rules we break — and why.

February’s topic, “Nurse Practice Authority: Why Are the Rules So Blurry?” was brought to us by Dr. Sara Robertson, assistant professor and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at UofL’s School of Nursing.

For about 10 minutes, Dr. Robertson spoke about the constraints under which Nurse Practitioners work in the Commonwealth and how that limits the delivery of medical services. She explained, for example, that an NP can only practice if a physician signs off on the service delivery. This requires the NP, moreover, to pay a significant fee. The result, Dr. Robertson argues, is to infringe on wider delivery of medical services.

She outlined SB 132 — a bill that did not make it out of committee during the Kentucky's Legislature's 2019 Regular Session — that proposed removing the mandatory collaborative practice agreement that NPs must have with a physician in order to prescribe controlled substances. This agreement, argue opponents, poses a barrier to health care for many Kentuckians. While SB 132 didn't make it out of committee, the bill in its entirely has been added as amendments to another bill, SB 22. Dr. Robertson is now advocating for passage of these amendments.

Her presentation was followed by a lively discussion. As I looked around the room, I was excited and encouraged to see participants from a wide range of careers and experience — in the room, we had doctors, entrepreneurs, academics, lawyers and civic leaders.

It’s this kind of interdisciplinary engagement that makes the relationship between Louisville and UofL so special — and so important. And as dean of the city’s only law school, I am honored to be part of this program that prompts us all to examine the different ways we view the world.

See a full gallery of photos from this event.