A bag bulging with binders, Stand Whittaker hauled it in front of lawmakers Wednesday to prove nurse practitioners are not the problem but they can be the solution.
The big binder is full of evidence claiming nurse practitioners can take on more responsibility, the smaller binder.
“That’s the number of studies that say we are unsafe,” said Stan Whittaker.
Whittaker is a Nurse Practitioner. He’s supporting a bill by Representative Daphne Campbell to give nurses the authority to perform involuntary mental health checks on potentially dangerous patients.
“They are very well trained to act on patients who want to committee suicide or homicide,” said Rep. Daphne Campbell.
The way the law is written now, if a nurse practitioner thinks a patient is a threat they have to get a doctor or a cop to perform a mental health exam. That can take hours, and Whittaker has learned the hard way, there’s no time to waste.
“I actually had somebody come to me and tell me,’ look you know my wife’s leaving me, I’ve lost my business, my daughter is ill and sick and I’m broke and I don’t know what to do and the only thing I can’t think to do is kill myself’,” said Whittaker.
He called the cops.
“The police officer said well basically I don’t think he’s suicidal. Then that individual left. Later that evening he managed to committee suicide,” said Whittaker.
The bill made it all the way through the House last year but died after the senate refused to take it up.
This year it’s already made it through two house votes and session has yet to begin.
If a patient is deemed a threat after the involuntary mental health exam is given, then a judge can order the patient to be held in a hospital or put under surveillance for 72 hours.