I. Glossary

Open Resources for Nursing (Open RN)

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN): An RN who has a graduate degree and advanced knowledge. There are four categories of APRNs: certified nurse-midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse practitioner (CNP), or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). These nurses can diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments and medications.[1] (Chapter 1.4)

ANA Standards of Professional Nursing Practice: Authoritative statements of the duties that all registered nurses, regardless of role, population, or specialty, are expected to perform competently. The Standards of Professional Nursing Practice describe a competent level of nursing practice as demonstrated by the critical thinking model known as the nursing process. The nursing process includes the components of assessment, diagnosis, outcomes identification, planning, implementation, and evaluation.[2] (Chapter 1.3)

ANA Standards of Professional Performance: Standards that describe a competent level of behavior in the professional role of the nurse, including activities related to ethics, advocacy, respectful and equitable practice, communication, collaboration, leadership, education, scholarly inquiry, quality of practice, professional practice evaluation, resource stewardship, and environmental health.[3] (Chapter 1.3)

Basic nursing care: Care that can be performed following a defined nursing procedure with minimal modification in which the responses of the patient to the nursing care are predictable.[4] (Chapter 1.4)

Board of Nursing: The state-specific licensing and regulatory body that sets the standards for safe nursing care, decides the scope of practice for nurses within its jurisdiction, and issues licenses to qualified candidates. (Chapter 1.3)

Certification: The formal recognition of specialized knowledge, skills, and experience demonstrated by the achievement of standards identified by a nursing specialty. (Chapter 1.4)

Chain of command: A hierarchy of reporting relationships in an agency that establishes accountability and lays out lines of authority and decision-making power. (Chapter 1.4)

Code of ethics: A code that applies normative, moral guidance for nurses in terms of what they ought to do, be, and seek. A code of ethics makes the primary obligations, values, and ideals of a profession explicit. (Chapter 1.6)

Dysphagia: Impaired swallowing. (Chapter 1.4)

Ethical principle: An ethical principle is a general guide, basic truth, or assumption that can be used with clinical judgment to determine a course of action. Four common ethical principles are beneficence (do good), nonmaleficence (do no harm), autonomy (control by the individual), and justice (fairness). (Chapter 1.6)

Evidence-based practice: A lifelong problem-solving approach that integrates the best evidence from well-designed research studies and evidence-based theories; clinical expertise and evidence from assessment of the health consumer’s history and condition, as well as health care resources; and patient, family, group, community, and population preferences and values.[5] (Chapter 1.8)

Expressive aphasia: The impaired ability to form words and speak. (Chapter 1.4)

Licensed Practical Nurse/Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN): An individual who has completed a state-approved practical or vocational nursing program, passed the NCLEX-PN examination, and is licensed by their state Board of Nursing to provide patient care.[6] (Chapter 1.4, Chapter 1.5)

Malpractice: A specific term that looks at a standard of care, as well as the professional status of the caregiver.[7] (Chapter 1.6)

Morality: Personal values, character, or conduct of individuals within communities and societies.[8] (Chapter 1.6)

Negligence: A “general term that denotes conduct lacking in due care, carelessness, and a deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in a particular set of circumstances.”[9] (Chapter 1.6)

Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC): Allows a nurse to have one multistate license with the ability to practice in the home state and other compact states. (Chapter 1.5)

Nursing: Nursing integrates the art and science of caring and focused on the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and human functioning; prevention of illness and injury; facilitation of healing; and alleviation of suffering through compassionate presence. Nursing is the diagnosis and treatment of human responses and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations in recognition of the connection of all humanity.[10] (Chapter 1.3)

Nurse Practice Act (NPA): Legislation enacted by each state that establishes regulations for nursing practice within that state by defining the requirements for licensure, as well as the scope of nursing practice. (Chapter 1.3)

Patient confidentiality: Keeping your patient’s Protected Health Information (PHI) protected and known only by those health care team members directly providing care for the patient. (Chapter 1.6)

Primary care: Care that is provided to patients to promote wellness and prevent disease from occurring. This includes health promotion, education, protection (such as immunizations), early disease screening, and environmental considerations. (Chapter 1.4)

Protocol: A precise and detailed written plan for a regimen of therapy.[11] (Chapter 1.3)

Provider: A physician, podiatrist, dentist, optometrist, or advanced practice nurse provider.[12] (Chapter 1.4)

Quality: The degree to which nursing services for health care consumers, families, groups, communities, and populations increase the likelihood of desirable outcomes and are consistent with evolving nursing knowledge.”[13] (Chapter 1.8)

Quality improvement: Combined and unceasing efforts of everyone–healthcare professionals, patients and their families, researchers, payers, planners and educators–to make the changes that will lead to better patient outcomes (health), better system performance (care) and better professional development (learning). (Chapter 1.8)

Registered Nurse (RN): An individual who has graduated from a state-approved school of nursing, passed the NCLEX-RN examination, and is licensed by a state board of nursing to provide patient care.[14] (Chapter 1.4, Chapter 1.5)

Safety culture: A culture established within health care agencies that empowers nurses, nursing students, and other staff members to speak up about risks to patients and to report errors and near misses, all of which drive improvement in patient care and reduce the incident of patient harm. (Chapter 1.3)

Scope of practice: Services that a qualified health professional is deemed competent to perform and permitted to undertake – in keeping with the terms of their professional license. (Chapter 1.1)

Secondary care: Care that occurs when a person has contracted an illness or injury and is in need of medical care. (Chapter 1.4)

Tertiary care: A type of care that deals with the long-term effects from chronic illness or condition, with the purpose to restore physical and mental function that may have been lost. The goal is to achieve the highest level of functioning possible with this chronic illness. (Chapter 1.4)

Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP): Any unlicensed person, regardless of title, who performs tasks delegated by a nurse. This includes certified nursing aides/assistants (CNAs), patient care assistants (PCAs), patient care technicians (PCTs), state tested nursing assistants (STNAs), nursing assistants-registered (NA/Rs) or certified medication aides/assistants (MA-Cs). Certification of UAPs varies between jurisdictions.[15] (Chapter 1.4)


  1. NCSBN. https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm
  2. American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (4th ed.). American Nurses Association.
  3. American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (4th ed.). American Nurses Association.
  4. Wisconsin Administrative Code. (2018). Chapter N 6 standards of practice for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/n/6.pdf
  5. American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (4th ed.). American Nurses Association.
  6. NCSBN. https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm
  7. Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. (n.d.). Negligence and malpractice. https://health.mo.gov/living/lpha/phnursing/negligence.php#:~:text=Negligence%20is%3A,a%20particular%20set%20of%20circumstances.
  8. American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. American Nurses Association. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/ethics/code-of-ethics-for-nurses/coe-view-only/
  9. Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. (n.d.). Negligence and malpractice. https://health.mo.gov/living/lpha/phnursing/negligence.php#:~:text=Negligence%20is%3A,a%20particular%20set%20of%20circumstances.
  10. American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (4th ed.). American Nurses Association.
  11. Wisconsin Administrative Code. (2018). Chapter N 6 standards of practice for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/n/6.pdf
  12. Wisconsin Administrative Code. (2018). Chapter N 6 standards of practice for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/n/6.pdf
  13. American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (4th ed.). American Nurses Association.
  14. NCSBN. https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm
  15. NCSBN. https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm

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