New! Nurse Practitioner State Law Series

Have you ever attempted to find the laws governing nurse practitioners in your state?  I have-and it's a disaster!  Sure, I can locate them on the state board of nursing website.  I am not, however proficient in legal speak so reading straight from my state's rule book leaves me even more puzzled than before my legal search began.  

To solve this problem for nurse practitioners across the U.S., I am beginning a new series.  In a group of posts (which will likely take all year!) I will begin looking at laws governing nurse practitioners in each state.  I will deconstruct and decode them in an effort to bring you a simplified, layperson's explanation of the rules and regulations governing you as an NP.

It will take a while to blog through all 50 states and the District of Columbia, so be patient as you wait for your state to be featured.  I will proceed in order of states with the most visitors to MidlevelU, so California, you're up first!

Keep coming back to the Legal Spotlight column to check the progress of my legal road trip across the U.S.  I must note that laws change frequently and unexpectedly so this column is meant to be used as a helpful guide but it is certainly no substitute for formal legal advice from a qualified attorney or for consulting the formal laws for your state.


Hi Lee,

Great to hear from you!  I certainly understand your perspective on the term midlevel.  I guess I just have a different take on the word.

The way I see it, there is nothing degrading about the term at all.  In fact, it is very appropriate in the following major ways:
1. I work in an ER department, and when something more complicated than I feel comfortable handling comes in, I ask a doctor for help, or it just goes straight to the doctor.  That said, I perform far more functions than a nurse.  In other words, when it comes to acuity I do the work in the middle between the nurse's level and the doctor's.

2. I considered going to medical school to become a doctor, but considering the length of time in school and the cost, ended up deciding it was not for me.  That said, I wanted to do more than be a nurse.  I chose something in the middle.
The above is true not only for myself, but for the vast majority of the other nurse practitioners I know.  

When it comes to the quality of care I deliver, I believe I deliver an incredibly high level of care -- within the scope of care that I have chosen to specialize in, which is that of a nurse practitioner.  I do not intend for the term “midlevel" to refer to the standard of care NP’s deliver.

Bottom line, I think we should embrace the term as reflecting the schooling we chose to pursue (more than a nurse, less than a doctor), and our role in a clinical environment when it comes to dealing with varying levels of acuity (more than a nurse, less than a doctor).  These things are factual.  And, if we go ahead and own the term ourselves and embrace it, then we can define what it means and move on.

This would lead to more respect for the profession, not less.  Thank you for your comment!

Erin Tolbert

I appreciate your support of nurse practitioners and their practice but I would very much appreciate if you change the name of your blog Midlevel U to something like Nurse Practitioner U or if this includes physician assistants then something like Advanced Practice Clinician U. We are not mid-level providers (What is a low-level or high-level provider) Thank you again for your support of our profession.

Lee Moss, NP