Hey everyone, and welcome to our informative guide on the Nursing Scope of Practice.
This guide will assist you in delving deeper into what the Nursing Scope of Practice is for the various nursing licensures and what nurses are expected to commit to as outlined in the Scope of Practice.
Furthermore, we will look at how you can ensure that you uphold the Nursing Scope of Practice.
This guide will go over:
As you enter the Nursing profession, it is crucial to understand the Scope of Practice and how you are expected to fulfill its activities.
Let’s dive straight in!
What does the Nursing Scope of Practice entail?
For the health care system to ensure that its Nursing professional practice standards meet the competency to administer patient care efficiently, the industry employs a Nursing Scope of Practice.
A Nursing Scope of Practice is a framework of all the professional nursing procedures and best practices required for nurses to follow to maintain competence and quality services.
Furthermore, it defines the duties that different types of nurses are legally entitled to perform.
Hence, the American Nurses Association defines the Nursing Scope of Practice as the services a certified and licensed health professional can perform and undertake.
Generally, the Nursing Scope of Practice varies from state to state and is established through a state’s Nursing Practice Act (NPA).
However, before an NPA can go into effect, its laws and regulations must be approved by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
That said, to better understand the Nursing Scope of Practice, you need to delve deeper into who it affects, what it involves, and why and when to use it.
Therefore, we examine the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘why’ of the Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice below.
- Who: Nurses with a clinical scope of practice include Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs), and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)
This is because LPNs (or LVNs as termed in Texas and California) RNs and APRNs receive education and must obtain and maintain licenses to keep their titles.
- What: As a certified or licensed Nurse, you commit to protecting your patients and ensuring that you promote their health and abilities
Additionally, you are obliged to prevent the contraction of illness and injury.
Amongst other responsibilities, your job is to work towards riding suffering, health promotion, and caring for individuals until they attain positive patient outcomes.
Ultimately, the ‘what’ refers to all the commitments you pledged to undertake as a nurse and the services you are expected to fulfill under your credential.
- When: The ‘when’ refers to when the industry will require a nursing professional’s services
And if you are wondering when that is, well, it’s basically whenever nursing knowledge and expertise are needed.
- Where: With nurses working in various settings, from health care facilities to patients’ homes, you can work wherever a patient may need your attention
- Why: While there may be many reasons you might want to become a Nurse, according to the Nursing Scope of Practice, you should become a Nurse to help patients achieve better health outcomes
This forms part of the societal obligation that nurses have to fulfill.
What is the Nursing Scope of Practice according to credentials?
As you might already know, the Nursing profession is known to have several tiers of types of Nurses assigned to fulfill different responsibilities.
Due to this, the Nursing Scope of Practice, especially concerning the services you are allowed to perform, will vary from one type of Nurse to the other.
Additionally, with each state having its Nurse Practice Act (NPA), there may be other differences in the Nursing Scope of Practice from state to state within the same Nursing credential.
With LPNs, RNs, and APRNs, comprising the “who” component in the Nursing Scope of Practice, we’ll provide detail on the general procedures, activities, and processes that nurses can undertake according to these three nursing licenses.
Licensed Practical Nurses are responsible for providing primary care, such as changing dressing or bathing.
While various state boards of Nursing may provide different regulations regarding the Scope of Practice for LPNs, their most common duties include participating with other Nurse Practitioners like RNs to develop a nursing care plan.
Furthermore, they are required to implement the Nursing plan of care per the instructions of an RN.
They are also responsible for collecting data regarding a patient’s health condition and monitoring and reporting any changes to their medical status.
Additionally, LPNs should promote patient safety by ensuring clinical practice settings or home health settings are therapeutic and free of hazards.
Finally, some states may permit LPNs to administer IV drips under the supervision of an RN.
Foremost, Registered Nurses are responsible for assessing a patient’s medical conditions by collecting and analyzing data and then establishing a plan of care.
They work hand-in-hand with other health professionals to create a coordinated strategy to administer care to the patient.
They are also responsible for developing interventions if patients need a different care plan.
Additionally, RNs are responsible for administering good care to patients by delegating care tasks to the appropriate Nursing staff.
When they aren’t ensuring the care duties they plan out are carried through effectively, RNs can take on administrative duties such as participating in creating health care policies.
Finally, should an RN adopt a specialty, that specialty will influence their Scope of Practice?
APRNs consist of several types of Nurses, including Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse midwives, and Clinical Nurse Specialists.
In general, APRNs are responsible for diagnosing illnesses and treating them.
They also play a huge role in managing chronic diseases and advising society on various health issues.
Depending on the specialty an APRN takes on and the state and healthcare provider they choose to work in, the nursing scope of practice may vary from one APRN to the other.
With the responsibilities of LPNs, RNs and APRNs covered, let’s look at the importance of developing a Nursing Scope of Practice for Nursing professionals in the next section.
What is the significance of the Nursing Scope of Practice?
The fact that you are reading this guide already indicates your interest in understanding the Scope of Practice for Nurses, but at this point, you might still be wondering what exactly is the significance of the Nursing Scope of Practice to Nursing professionals.
Well, the Nursing Scope of practice is a phrase intentionally brought up a multitude of times during nursing education to emphasize its importance with regards to ensuring a standard competence output is achieved amongst all types of licensed Nurses.
However, what has to be the most vital part of the Nursing Scope of Practice is the regulations it provides for the duties that different Nurse Licenses can perform.
Without these regulations, you may run the risk of engaging in healthcare activities outside your state’s given boundaries, which may negatively affect a patient.
Furthermore, if you are unaware of the Nursing Scope of Practice and engage in work outside your specified duties, you risk being asked to leave your job or lose your license.
And one thing that is important to note is that you should never assume your superior’s instructions are according to the Nursing Scope of Practice.
Superiors may sometimes instruct their staff to perform work duties outside their boundaries because of a shortage of staff; however, you could get in hot water with the state for engaging in work outside your Scope of Practice.
Hence if you don’t want to jeopardize your career in the long run, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the nursing scope of practice and abide by it.
In the next section, we review ways in which you can maintain the Nursing Scope of Practice.
How to maintain the Nursing Scope of Practice?
With the Nursing profession often being fast-paced, with little to no downtime, Nurses stand the risk of always being caught up in their work, leaving no time to practice their education and hone their abilities.
Not often engaging with education is a threat to your ability to maintain or remember your state’s Nursing Practice Act.
When it comes to maintaining your Nursing Scope of Practice, it’s vital to engage in a continuing education program that will help you re-visit the care services you are required to administer and overall the things you can and cannot do concerning your profession.
By fulfilling your continuing education requirements, you will ensure that you provide quality care to your patients in various healthcare settings.
Additionally, your decision-making concerning your job will always abide by your state’s Nursing Scope of Practice.
Without a Nursing Scope of Practice, Nurses could risk providing care in areas they are not fully competent in.
Thankfully, every state has developed a Nurse Practice Act that outlines the Nursing Scope of Practice for the different types of nurses.
As a Nurse wanting to ensure you provide quality care to your patients, it’s vital to understand your Nursing Scope of Practice and work according to the regulations it provides for you.
After reading this guide, we hope that you fully understand the significance of a Nursing Scope of Practice and how to maintain it according to your nursing license.