Full Practice Authority Licenses Available for Illinois Advanced Practice Nurses

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Qualified Illinois nurses can apply for APRN-FPA licenses. We break down the eligibility, requirements, cost, and process for obtaining the license so that you can perform more services with greater independence.

Smiling nurse practitioner examining infant while mother watches

If you’re an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), you can take advantage of a 2017 law allowing you to practice independently of physicians. The law modifies the Nurse Practice Act by adding Section 65-73, granting full practice authority to nurses meeting higher levels of education and training. 

Though it became effective on January 1, 2018, and on June 24, 2019, Illinois released an application packet providing the materials necessary for nurses interested in Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Full Practice Authority (APRN-FPA) licensure. To obtain an APRN-FPA license, you must meet four requirements:

  1. Hold an Illinois license as an advanced practice registered nurse;
  2. Obtain national certification as either a nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse practitioner;
  3. Complete at least 250 hours of continuing education or training; and
  4. Complete at least 4,000 hours of clinical experience after becoming nationally certified in your field.

The Importance of the APRN-FPA License.

Illinois residents have long benefited from the services of APRNs, registered nurses who have earned graduate degrees or post-master’s certificates in one of four roles specified by statute. APRNs assess and diagnose patients, perform diagnostic and therapeutic tests and procedures, and provide various other care in collaboration with physicians.    

Under the Illinios APRN-FPA license, if you’re an APRN who meets additional requirements, you will be granted full practice authority — the ability to practice without a written collaborative agreement with a physician. You may also obtain an Illinois controlled substances license, obtain a federal Drug Enforcement Administration number, prescribe certain drugs, and use a local anesthetic. The scope of practice does not include operative surgery.     

Who Should Obtain APRN-FPA Licenses?

The regulations target APRNs interested in expanding their practices while gaining independence from collaborating physicians. 

APRN-FPA licenses allow nurses to perform a wider spectrum of services on behalf of patients. They also make it easier for APRNs to open their own practices, particularly in underserved and rural communities where there may not be any doctors available for collaboration. 

Further, the full practice license leaves APRNs less vulnerable to service disruptions. If a collaborating physician retires, relocates, dies, or chooses to terminate the agreement, an APRN without full practice authority cannot legally continue to practice until a replacement is found. These issues are avoided with an APRN-FPA license.

The benefits are not limited to nurses. There are shortages of primary care providers all across the nation. Full practice authority permits qualified nurses to fill the gap and deliver high-quality, affordable health care to those who would have no other options. 

Studies show that APRNs are effective and safe providers of services. Increasing the ability to practice results in improved access to essential health care services and patients’ health outcomes. APRN-FPA licenses are essential for nurses passionate about addressing these issues.

How to Apply for the APRN-FPA License.

Obtaining full practice authority requires payment of a $125 application fee. In the application, you may pursue only one category of advanced practice nursing (certified nurse midwife, certified clinical nurse specialist, or certified nurse practitioner). You may apply for a license in more than one category, but a separate fee and application is required for each.  

The APRN-FPA application itself requests basic identifying information and personal history. The following supporting documentation must also be submitted:

  • Form CCA, which records whether you have been charged with or convicted of certain criminal acts (even if the answers to all questions are no, you still must complete the form, or your application will not be processed);
  • A current copy of your national certification from specified organizations, which will vary depending on your category of advanced practice nursing;
  • An affidavit certifying that you have completed 250 hours of additional continuing education or training; and
  • A verification that you have completed at least 4000 hours of clinical experience.

Both the affidavit and verification must be notarized. The verification must also be attested to by your collaborating physician.     

Controlled Substances and Prescriptive Authority.

One potential area of concern in expanding your practice through an APRN-FPA license is compliance with the many laws and regulations governing controlled substances.

The abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and widespread problem. You will have the authority to prescribe both legend drugs and Schedule II through V controlled substances. In a consultation relationship with a physician, you will have the authority to prescribe benzodiazepines or Schedule II narcotic drugs such as opioids. With this expanded authority, you will share the responsibility for preventing the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs.

Prior to prescribing, you must apply for a practitioner license under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has included this application in its packet for APRN-FPA licensure. There is a $5 fee. A state-controlled substances registration is a prerequisite for federal controlled substances registration.

Launching Your Practice.

Jackson LLP’s experienced health care attorneys help advanced practice nurses and other medical professionals establish a business entity and address the legal requirements for employment, telemedicine, online prescribing, or HIPAA compliance. Learn more about all of the services we provide, and then reach out to us for a complimentary consultation.

This blog is made for educational purposes and is not intended to be specific legal advice to any particular person. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between our firm and the reader. It should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

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