Dr. Vicky Stone-Gale, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP is a family nurse practitioner (FNP) and assistant professor at Frontier Nursing University (FNU). With over 34 years of nursing experience under her belt, and 28 of those years as an NP, Vicky continues to serve patients and pave the way for future nurse practitioners (NPs) in Florida.
When Vicky first became an NP, a mentor helped guide her through the legislative process. She immensely enjoyed it and witnessed many changes as a result, inspiring her to continue to advocate for current and future nurse practitioners over the past 28 years. One of her biggest victories to date came in 2017, after almost 24 years of work, when Florida finally passed House Bill 423, The Barbara Lumpkin Controlled Substance Act, named after her mentor, allowing NPs to prescribe controlled substances. To implement this new bill, Vicky was asked by the Board of Nursing to sit on a committee and develop the protocol for the controlled substances.
According to Vicky, nurses need to be involved with the legislation side of healthcare because it directly impacts their practice. “Things can change very quickly when legislators get their hands on something, and then they can alter our practice without us even knowing,” she said.
For several years, health care experts have been concerned about an impending shortage of physicians. In 2014, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act expanded the availability of health insurance coverage to many patients who previously had no coverage, creating a shortage of physicians as demand for healthcare markedly rose. Many people suggested that NPs could present a solution, and Vicky was part of the team who worked on making it a reality. With the passing of House Bill 607 on March 10, 2020, qualified NPs can now obtain independent practice status in Florida! The bill goes into effect on July 1st. Vicky is confident that NPs will help combat the physician shortage and reduce healthcare costs because their reimbursement is lower than a physician’s, but more importantly, it will also provide access to care to the citizens of Florida.
Vicky has been in Tallahassee meeting with lobbyists and working on bills many times over the years. However, she recently got to see a new side of the legislative process when she was asked to be the Nurse Practitioner of the Day at the 2020 Florida Legislative Session. She was introduced by the Speaker in the morning opening session and saw patients at the clinic for the remainder of the day. This marked the first time the state of Florida asked an NP and not a physician to be present for this day.
Vicky has been a member of the Frontier community since 2014. In addition to working as an Assistant Professor at Frontier as Course Coordinator for the Primary Care I management course, she also practices in primary care in Plantation, FL. She is the President of the South Florida Council of Advanced Practice Nurses and the Region 4 Director for the Florida Nurse Practitioner Network. These positions allow her to share her love for advocacy and legislation with newer NPs in the profession. She is also active with the Florida Board of Nursing Probable Cause Panel.
Her favorite things about being part of the FNU team are the support she gets from her faculty colleagues and the administration, and the interactions she is able to have with her students. She also enjoys the freedom to develop coursework and use different teaching methods that will benefit the students.
“I have been with FNU for six years and I really love the environment,” she said. “I think that the faculty at Frontier are amazing and I have learned so much from them. I am glad that we have the ability to work together on projects, within committees, and that we can work as a team to make the university the best it can be for our students. The administration is very supportive and it’s one of the best places I’ve ever worked”.
Thank you, Vicky, for serving your students at FNU, your patients in Florida and for championing for future nurse practitioners.