May Nurse Practitioners Perform Vasectomies?

Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD

Disclosures

June 23, 2017

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Question

May Nurse Practitioners Perform Vasectomies?

Response from Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD
Healthcare attorney

No state law specifically gives nurse practitioners (NPs) that scope of practice, although in a state with full practice authority and no bar to performing vasectomies—Washington and Alaska, for example—NPs are performing vasectomies, often in Planned Parenthood or US Public Health Service facilities. Some NPs perform vasectomies within urology practices in states where physicians may delegate what, and to whom, they want.

A bill that authorizes NPs in Oregon to perform vasectomies passed the Oregon House in March and is in the Senate committee as of this writing.[1] The 2017 session bill (HB 2103) emanates from a desire to improve access for men wanting vasectomies. A Planned Parenthood spokesperson reported that the organization has a vasectomy waiting list nearly 100 men long.[2] The bill calls for additional training and education for the NPs who would perform vasectomies.

The Oregon House's staff measure summary points out: "Currently, statute allows NPs to perform procedures such as bone marrow aspiration, chest tube placement, and lumbar puncture with the appropriate training, competency, credentialing and privileging."[3] Current Oregon law explicitly bars NPs from offering a voluntary sterilization procedure to patients of either gender.

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