By Rachel Perdue Turner of Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC on 11/30/2017
Nurse Practitioner Independent Practice in WV OK for Some APRNS

If you want to learn about West Virginia's nurse practitioner independent practice law, you're in the right place. In 2016, WV joined 21 other states by broadening the legal scope of practice for nurse practitioners, also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). This opens the door for a qualified APRN to start his or her own independent practice. This blog will discuss applicable law for starting a nurse practitioner independent practice in WV.

Image of a notepad, glasses, pen, and stethoscope, representing some of the tools needed for someone planning to open a nurse practitioner independent practice in WV.

Laws for Starting a Nurse Practitioner Independent Practice in WV

Nurse practitioner independent practice law allows qualified nurse practitioners to open independent practices with few restrictions. W. Va. Code § 30-7-1 et seq.

Only a Qualified APRN May Establish a Nurse Practitioner Independent Practice in WV

The law specifies who may practice independently. Only "advanced practice registered nurse[s]," as defined in West Virginia Code § 30-7-1, are eligible to establish independent practices.

Under this law, a nurse practitioner who has worked in a formal, supervised arrangement with a physician for at least three (3) years is eligible to practice independently. This requirement is designed to ensure that independently practicing nurse practitioners have both advanced education and clinical knowledge. Before an APRN may practice in this state, he or she must also be licensed by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses.

APRNs Have Limited Prescriptive Authority in WV

Certain APRNs may be eligible for limited prescriptive authority under West Virginia law. To be eligible, West Virginia nurse practitioners must meet the following criteria:

  • Practice for at least three (3) years under a collaborative relationship with a physician;
  • Comply with additional education requirements in "pharmacology and clinical management of drug therapy";
  • Have "good moral character and not [be] addicted to alcohol or the use of controlled substances"; and
  • Possess a valid APRN license in all applicable jurisdictions.

A West Virginia APRN who meets the above criteria is allowed to prescribe many types of medicine, particularly those that have low likelihood of abuse for treating chronic conditions (other than pain). However, there are some limitations on APRN prescribing authority:

  • APRNs may only prescribe a 30-day supply, without refills, of Schedule III drugs, such as lower-level codeine drugs, anabolic steroids, and testosterone.

The legislature's decision to allow some APRNs to practice without physician oversight is a major shift in West Virginia law. This exciting development expands the scope of APRN practice and provides an opportunity for qualified APRNs to open nurse practitioner independent practices in the Mountain State.

If you are interested in setting up a nurse practitioner independent practice in WV, contact me, Rachel Perdue Turner, by calling (866) 617-4736 or completing our firm's Contact form. I'll provide expert guidance to help you establish your practice legally.