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  • Identify one policy issue related to barriers to accessing psychiatric and mental health care that is currently being addressed by your national professional organization and discuss how NPs can become policy-aware, as well as act as patient advocates.
  • Attach a policy white paper to support your statement.



Note: Please attach a policy white paper  with the paper with this assignment.



One major policy issue related to accessing psychiatric care that is being addressed by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the inconsistent nurse practitioner (NP) licensure standards of different state legislatures. Not all states have full practice authority (FPA), which limits the ability of nurse practitioners, therefore decreasing the supply of eligible practitioners to readily provide care without supervision. The disparities that ensue from the lack of NP providers, particularly in states without full practice authority, result in limitations to accessing care. FPA limitations for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP) does not allow practice within the full realm of education and training, which ultimately decreases access to mental health care (Phoenix & Chapman, 2020). FPA is critical to improving access to care and healthcare delivery at large. FPA allows NPs to work with vulnerable populations in rural areas, as evidenced by states that have less restrictive licensure models. Costs are additionally decreased with FPA, which is another critical barrier to accessing healthcare (AANP, 2022). The need for psychiatric and mental health care services has significantly increased with the pandemic and due to licensing restrictions, certain populations have been unable to receive the care they need. Previously restricted states had governors that passed wavers to allow FPA without a full legislative involvement to provide more care. However, the practice standards of the NP even in FPA states has been compromised without a uniform policy outlining scope of practice (Kleinpell. Et al., 2021). The pandemic provided an opportunity to further delve into the complexities within mental healthcare delivery disparities and the role of the NP. NPs can become policy aware by become members of national orgnaizations who address such issues – AANP being most prevalent. Through practice, education, advocacy, research and leadership (PEARL), the AANP aims to help NPs increase access to care for underserved populations. Education for NPs about this movement and participating in advocacy at the state and national level can make an impact on access to policies being passed to create FPA, hopefully increasing access to psychiatric and mental health care. The attached policy paper demonstrates how Massachusetts has pushed for elimination of scope of practice restrictions to improve access to care, and ultimately health outcomes (James, 2020).




Issues at a glance: Full Practice Authority. American Association of Nurse


Practitioners. (2022). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from




James, H. (2020, May 6). The nurse practitioner workforce and its role in the


Massachusetts … Retrieved December 9, 2022, from




Kleinpell, R., Myers, C. R., Schorn, M. N., & Likes, W. (2021). Impact of covid-19


pandemic on Aprn Practice: Results from a national survey. Nursing Outlook,


69(5), 783–792.


Phoenix, B. J., & Chapman, S. A. (2020). Effect of state regulatory environments on


advanced psychiatric nursing practice. Archives of psychiatric nursing, 34(5),






MANurse Practitioner Policy Brief_2020.pdf

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