Next time you are feeling under the weather in Illinois, you might not have to see a doctor – Your nurse can treat you. That is because Illinois just signed the “Nurse Practice Act” into law. Not all Doctors are happy with the new law but Governer Bruce Rauner said “Today is a good day for the health of the people of Illinois, the quality of life of the people of Illinois,”

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The new law opens the way for around 13- thousand Illinois nurses to diagnose, treat and even prescribe some medications without a doctor watching over them.

“This bill or law now, will allow us to decrease overall cost, maintain overall quality and increase access to care,” said Ricky Loar, President of the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing. Nurse Practitioner Ricky Loar says the main goal of this new law is to make medical care more accessible to people who live in the countryside and doesn’t have ready access to doctors.

Not everyone is happy about it though: Dr. April Kennedy said “When you try to substitute training, when you try to have someone perform a function that they really aren’t trained to do to me it just opens up for errors, and medical errors can be critical, they can be life-threatening,”

Before we get too excited – the bill only applies to advanced practice registered nurses, such as nurse practitioners. On top of their extra education, they have to work with a physician or hospital for 4000 hours, plus get another 250 hours of continuing education or training before they will be allowed to treat patients.

“With advanced practice nurses in general, the quality of care and the control of for instance, chronic disease, is as good or better than it is with a physician and that’s documented in multiple studies,” Loar said.

Watch the press conference in the video below:

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