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Full practice authority and burnout among primary care nurse practitioners.

O'Connor AW, Helfrich CD, Nelson KM, Sears JM, Jensen PK, Engstrom C, Wong ES. Full practice authority and burnout among primary care nurse practitioners. Nursing Outlook. 2023 Oct 17; 71(6):102056.

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BACKGROUND: Full practice authority (FPA) improves clinical autonomy for nurse practitioners (NPs). Autonomy may reduce burnout. PURPOSE: Estimate the effect of changing from reduced or restricted practice authority to FPA on NP burnout. METHODS: In this quasi-experimental study, we compared NP burnout before (2016) and after (2018) a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) regulation authorized NP FPA. Burnout proportions were estimated for VHA facilities by aggregating responses to the VHA's All Employee Survey from 1,352 primary care NPs. DISCUSSION: Seventy-seven percent of facilities changed to FPA postregulation. Burnout was six points lower among NPs in facilities that changed to FPA compared to facilities that had FPA prior to the regulation; however, this association was not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: NPs are increasingly working under independent practice. While changing to FPA did not reduce NP burnout, this association may vary by health care setting or when burnout is measured for individuals or teams.

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