Dr. Tracy Klein

Dr. Tracy Klein has worked for years to elevate the role of nurse practitioners in healthcare policy in the Pacific Northwest.

Those efforts, plus her decades spent caring for families as a nurse practitioner, have earned Klein induction into the Nurse Practitioners of Oregon Hall of Fame. She is one of two nurse practitioners who’ll be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 18 at the organization’s annual meeting in Eugene.

Klein is licensed to practice in both Oregon and Washington and is a tenured associate professor at the WSU College of Nursing.

Starting in 1998, as the number of nurse practitioners began to grow, she was instrumental in setting regulations and policies for advanced practice registered nurses at the Oregon State Board of Nursing.

“I was able to see nurse practitioners successfully expand their prescriptive authority to include a range of controlled substances and the removal of a restrictive formulary,” she said. “I also implemented a number of legislative accomplishments including having nurse practitioners be able to sign and authorize most services for their patients, such as death certificates.”

She added, “Oregon was the first and still is the only state to have payment parity for nurse practitioners, and I helped develop and implement that legislative achievement.”

Said Dr. Mel Haberman, interim dean of the WSU College of Nursing, “The college is fortunate to have such a well-known and influential thought leader on our faculty. Dr. Klein’s pioneering contributions in establishing regulations and prescriptive policies for advance practice nurses benefits not only practitioners in Oregon and Washington but nurses in advanced practice roles nationally and internationally. Ultimately, her undaunted efforts touch the lives of everyone who seeks health care from credentialed nurse practitioners.”

Klein served two terms on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Advanced Practice Advisory Committee where she was responsible for writing model rules and regulations at the national level. She also helped develop regulations and policies for nurse practitioners in British Columbia and spent seven years working to shape and implement the role there.

A paper she co-authored with Dr. Randall Hudspeth, “Understanding nurse practitioner scope of practice”, has been the most frequently downloaded and shared publication in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners this year to date.

Based on her extensive work in policy analysis and development, she was named a Fellow of both the American Academy of Nurses and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

She still works as a family nurse practitioner at Rose Urgent Care and Family Practice in Vancouver, Washington, seeing underserved patients.

“It’s been very exciting to be able to practice in both Washington and Oregon, which are still among the very few states that have full practice authority for nurse practitioners,” Klein said.

She added, “I’m honored to be recognized by the Nurse Practitioners of Oregon, just as I’ve been honored to have spent my career helping patients and promoting the work of nurse practitioners.”

–Addy Hatch