Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Deputy Whip Nancy F. Muñoz that permits an attending advanced practice nurse (APN) to determine the cause of death and execute the death certification of a patient when the nurse is the patient’s primary caregiver today was approved by the General Assembly.

“An APN is licensed to treat, order tests, make referrals to surgeons, diagnose and manage long-term illnesses. As the patient’s primary treating health professional, they are often with the patient at time of death,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset.

“It is appropriate then that the attending APN be permitted to determine and certify the cause of death.

“As we know, end of life is a very emotional and difficult time for family members,” she continued. “Allowing an attending APN to make the determination and execute the death certificate in a timely manner will help the grief-stricken family. This measure is an effort to streamline the process to make a very difficult situation less stressful.”

The bill, A-1097/S-1598, expands the scope of practice for an advance practice nurse by authorizing the APN to make the determination of the cause of death and to certify the cause of death for completion of the death certificate when the APN is the patient’s primary caregiver.

A Message from Nancy F. Muñoz…

I am honored to have been selected by Shelia Oliver, the Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, to attend the National Conference of State Legislators for Emerging Leaders.  I have brought back some fresh ideas that I hope to implement that will benefit the residents of New Jersey.

I am very concerned about making New Jersey an affordable place in which people can live, work and raise their families.  As the mother of five children, I would like to see my children able to afford to remain in New Jersey and raise their families here.  Achieving that goal includes taking on the status quo that stifles economic opportunity and burdens New Jersey’s taxpayers.  I supported New Jersey’s first ever pension overhaul reform and I am leading the fight on sick pay abuses, which undermine local, county and state government at the taxpayers’ expense.

As a former PTO president, I know the challenges that face our schools, which recently have included concerns for the health and safety of our children during school hours.  I was a sponsor of the New Jersey School Security Task Force, the first comprehensive effort to identify physical and cyber vulnerabilities and potential breaches of security in the public schools, and will make recommendations to improve school safety and security.  Additionally, the Governor signed into law my legislation that establishes standards of practice for providers of clinical nursing services for medically fragile students.

I have spent more than 35 years as a nursing professional, and have worked as a staff nurse in the surgical ICU, ER, and recovery rooms; I have also trained the next generation of nurses as a critical care educator.  I understand healthcare from the provider’s and patient’s perspectives and have put my experience to work in Trenton influencing and sponsoring healthcare legislation. I supported $108.4 million for women’s healthcare and services in Fiscal Year 2014 and have been endorsed by the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey.   I was proud when the Governor signed into law last month my Diabetes Action Plan that will improve care and help to control complications associated with diabetes.

As an emergency room nurse, I also know the horrific outcomes of those who choose to drive and text.  It takes a moment of inattention to cause a lifetime of irreparable harm for someone or their family.  I sponsored the law that increases fines for drivers speaking on a hand-held phone or texting while operating a vehicle.  In June, 2013 Governor Christie signed into law my bill which directs health care facilities to transport patients immediately to hospitals that will provide the appropriate level of care. I am a strong advocate for the disabled and those with mental health issues.  I have also supported reasonable gun control legislation, while mindful of our constitutional rights.

I consider it the highest honor to have been chosen to finish the term of my husband, the late Assemblyman Dr. Eric Muñoz as I learned firsthand from him what a privilege it is to represent the people of District 21.  I am even more proud that my constituents have reaffirmed their confidence in my leadership through reelection.  That is why I have used my position as Deputy Republican Whip to be vocal on the issues that matter to the people I represent.  In public service it is important to find balance and represent all constituents equally regardless of individual agendas or special interests.  I will continue to lead the fight for the enactment of the Jessica Lunsford Act, which raises the penalties on those who commit sex crimes against minors.  I was the prime sponsor of Patrick’s Law, which significantly increases penalties for animal abuse.  I consider it integral to my job as a legislator to advocate for laws that protect society’s most vulnerable and to be the voice in Trenton for those who need my help.