1.1. Scope of Practice Introduction

Open Resources for Nursing (Open RN)

Learning Objectives

  • Distinguish among the different levels of nursing education
  • Specify the ethical and legal boundaries of the student nurse as presented in the Code of Ethics and the Nurse Practice Act
  • Detail responsibility for maintaining client confidentiality
  • Describe the contribution of all members of the health care team
  • Identify the role of evidence-based practice in nursing
  • Identify the concept of quality in client care
  • Discuss nursing scope of practice and standards of care
  • Compare various settings in which nurses work
  • Outline professional nursing organizations

Scope of practice refers to services a trained health professional is deemed competent to perform and permitted to undertake according to the terms of their professional nursing license.[1] Nursing scope of practice provides a legal framework and structured guidance for activities that practical nurses and registered nurses can perform based on their nursing license. As a nursing student, and in the future as a nurse, it is always important to consider if you can perform a task you are requested to do based on your legal scope of practice – or are you putting your nursing education or nursing license at risk?

Nurses must also follow standards when providing nursing care. Standards are set by several organizations, including your state’s Nurse Practice Act, the American Nurses Association (ANA), agency policies and procedures, and federal regulators. These standards help guide nursing actions with the intent that safe, competent care is provided to the public.

This chapter will provide an overview of basic concepts related to nursing scope of practice and standards of care.

  1. American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Scope of practice. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/scope-of-practice/


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