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California gives nurse anesthetists more autonomy

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Last week, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that nurses in California who are trained as anesthetists no longer need a doctor present to give anesthetics.

Under federal law, Medicare funding is denied to hospitals that allow nurses to give anesthesia without a doctor’s supervision. However, a state’s governor can opt out of that requirement after consulting with the state’s medical board. The appeal’s court decision makes California one of 16 states that have chosen to opt out.

It’s reported that this decision is particularly important for rural areas of California, where nurses often administer anesthesia without a doctor present.

Scrubs readers, what do you think about this ruling? Should nurses who are trained to administer anesthetics be required to have a doctor looking over their shoulder at all times? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

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