Legislation Would Change Rules for Nurse Anesthetists

Apr 21, 2021

Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow nurse anesthetists to do their work without a doctor having to be in the room, supervising.

The plan would bring the state in line with nearly every other state in the U.S., allowing the specialized nurses - who go through similar training as anesthesiologists - to handle procedures.

Holly Wilke is a certified nurse anesthetist in southern Illinois. She says the change just makes sense.

"We pre-op our patient, we talk to them. We formulate a plan with the surgeon. We bring the patient to the room, we provide the anesthetic - if it's a spinal, intubating the patient for a general procedure. And we are with them the whole time."

A hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Wednesday in Springfield. Wilke says allowing the change would mean more access to care in rural areas like southern Illinois - because anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists could be free to work separately on their own cases.