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Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice: Illinois

*Editor's note: this content was originally posted in 2013, some information may be out of date, please read with discretion.

Known as the “Land of Lincoln”, home to the first McDonald’s, the Chicago Bears, Cubs and Bulls and trendy shopping street Michigan AVE, Illinois has a lot to offer.  Except for favorable nurse practitioner scope of practice laws that is.  Illinois falls at the lower end of the spectrum of legislation surrounding nurse practitioners.  What regulations govern NP’s in the Prairie State?

Illinois Nurse Practitioner Supervision Laws

Sorry, folks.  Nurse practitioners practicing in Illinois do not enjoy the freedom to practice independently.  NP’s in Illinois must work under a collaborative practice agreement with a physician.  What needs to be included in a collaborative practice agreement?  The nurse practitioner- physician collaborative practice agreement outlines the working relationship of the NP and physician.  It describes the categories of care, treatment and procedures the NP expects to perform.

In Illinois, physicians are not required to be physically present with the NP.  The physician must simply be available for consultation whether in person or by phone.  A collaborating physician and NP are required to meet at least once a month.  Although Illinois does require physician collaboration for nurse practitioners, their collaborative practice agreements are quite liberal.

Illinois Nurse Practitioner Prescribing Laws

In order to write prescriptions as a nurse practitioner in Illinois, a bit of paperwork must be completed and a few legal requirements met.

  1. Your collaborating physician must specifically delegate you, the advanced practice nurse, prescriptive authority within your collaborative practice agreement.  The physician must specifically outline which schedule of controlled substances, II, III, IV and/or V, you will be prescribing.  The collaborative practice agreement must be signed by the doctor and the NP.  A copy of the agreement is to be maintained at all practice locations.
  2. Nurse practitioners in Illinois must complete 45 hours of continuing education in pharmacology before obtaining schedule II prescriptive authority.
  3. In Illinois, NP’s are only allowed to prescribe up to a 30 day supply of controlled substances.  Further refills may be given but only with authorization or prior approval of the collaborating physician.
  4. NP’s practicing in the Land of Lincoln must submit an application to the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation before they are officially allowed to write prescriptions.  You can find the application here.

Other Illinois NP Scope of Practice Laws

You may have to go through a lot of hassle to write prescriptions in Illinois, however as a NP in this state you are allowed to sign handicap parking permits.  Death certificates are a different story.  Nurse practitioners in Illinois cannot officially declare someone dead.

NP’s in Illinois do not enjoy as many freedoms as nurse practitioners in other states.  The loose nature of the required collaborative practice requirement however still allows for some degree of independence.  Overall, Illinois a moderately desirable place to practice.