I am writing in support of Senate Bill 36, which would allow experienced Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) to practice independent of a physician in Connecticut.

I spent over 40 years working within the pharmaceutical industry with various skilled people who bring health care to the public. As a patient, as well as a professional health care delivery partner, my observation of the skill level and dedication of the APRN specialty is very high.

In addition, as a retired Navy commander, I have observed independent highly trained individuals — who are not physicians — providing competent care within the Navy. This practice has been in effect since before World War 1.  In fact, the Navy couldn’t operate without the services of hospital corpsmen who are assigned to independent commands without a physician on board. The APRN skill level of training is higher and broader.

The concerns of doctors are unfounded. Research has shown that APRNs provide safe, effective care, whether or not they are supervised by a physician. Indeed, AARP and other consumer advocate organizations support this legislation because it would remove outdated restrictions that can prevent consumers from receiving needed care, especially in rural and urban underserved areas where there is often a lack of physicians, and little opportunity for collaboration with an APRN.

The bill would also help alleviate some of the stress and burden on family members, who often provide and coordinate medical care for their ailing loved ones.

Connecticut should follow the lead of more than 18 others states and allow these experienced health care professionals to provide needed primary care services without unnecessary and cumbersome restrictions.

Bob Rodman of Avon is an AARP volunteer.

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