What Is Scope of Practice?

The best way to identify actions are within the domain of one’s nursing practice is education. What is a nurse’s scope of practice? It depends on what state they live in and what specialty they practice. In Texas: The mission of the Texas Board of Nursing (BON or Board) is to protect and promote the welfare of the people of Texas by ensuring that each person holding a license as a nurse in this state is competent to practice safely.

The Board fulfills its mission through the regulation of the practice of nursing and the approval of nursing educational programs.

This mission, derived from the Nursing Practice Act, supersedes the interest of any individual, the nursing profession, or any special interest group. (Texas, 2011) Scope of practice pertains to what can a nurse legally and ethically practice. An adult ICU nurse should not practice in a Neonatal ICU, unless they have the training and certificates to do so. It also pertains to continuing education and making sure that all licenses and certifications are up to date.

I have a paramedic license. I can intubate a patient in the field.

But, I cannot intubate a patient in the hospital setting. I know the difference between my scope of practice as a nurse and as a nurse paramedic. Safe practice means that institutions should have current policies and procedures for nurses to refer to as guidelines. Each institution should also have unit based competencies to ensure that nurses are all practicing uniformly their specific unit skill sets.

Each institution should have a clinical nurse educator, but if one is not available, each nurse is responsible for their own education for their patient’s safety.

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