North Carolina Voters Overwhelmingly Support Physician Supervision of Nurse Anesthetists - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

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North Carolina Voters Overwhelmingly Support Physician Supervision of Nurse Anesthetists

A recent survey conducted in North Carolina shows that an overwhelming majority of North Carolina voters want a medical doctor to supervise nurses administering anesthesia and responding to anesthesia emergencies. The poll was conducted in response to legislation pending before the North Carolina General Assembly that would eliminate the current legal requirement that nurse anesthetists be supervised by a medical doctor when administering anesthesia.

“North Carolina voters overwhelmingly support physician supervision of nurse anesthetists,” said Dr. Frank Sutton, President of the North Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists. “We are hopeful that legislators will agree with voters and support maintaining current law that protects patients by ensuring physician supervision of anesthesia services.”

According to the poll, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly agree with long-standing North Carolina law that requires doctor supervision:

•             90 percent want a doctor to respond to a medical complication or anesthesia emergency during surgery;
•             90 percent believe it is important that a doctor supervise a nurse anesthetist who is administering anesthesia or responding to anesthesia emergencies during surgery; and
•             76 percent want the state to keep the current law requiring doctor supervision of nurse anesthetists who administer anesthesia or respond to medical emergencies during surgery 

“The health and safety of our patients is our top priority,” Dr. Sutton said. “Physician anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists have worked together as part of the anesthesia care team for decades. This survey confirms what we know from our everyday experience in operating rooms across North Carolina – physician supervision of anesthesia care has strong support from the public because it is the safest way to assure quality care and patient safety.”

House Bill 88 and Senate Bill 73, the Modernize Nursing Practice Act, would radically change patient safety standards in North Carolina by eliminating the long-standing legal requirement that nurse anesthetists be supervised by physicians when providing anesthesia care. The North Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists strongly opposes this legislation.

The poll of 500 registered North Carolina voters was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates between April 22-24, 2017. All interviews were conducted by professional interviewers via telephone. The accuracy of the sample is within +/-4.4% at a 95% confidence interval.

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