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What is the nurse practice act?
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What Is the Nurse Practice Act for an RN Working in the USA?

  • Publish Date: Posted over 5 years ago
  • Author:by Kate Andrews

What is the Nurse Practice Act for an RN in the United States?

The Nurse Practice Act is essentially the U.S. nursing rulebook. In the U.S., there are state nurse practice acts. To be a nurse in the U.S., you must learn, know and practice your state nurse practice act when working as a registered nurse (RN). The Nurse Practice Act ensures all registered nurses are qualified and competent of practicing to the highest standard. Each Nurse Practice Act:

  • Outlines its definitions

  • Outlines the Authority, Power and Composition of the state Board of Nursing (BON)

  • Sets the standards for educational programs

  • Creates the standards and scopes of nursing practice

  • Outlines the types of titles and licenses, and the protection of these titles and requirements needed for licensure

  • Determines the grounds for disciplinary action and other violations.

Take a look at each state's Nurse Practice Act.

Importance of the Nurse Practice Act

The intimate nature of nursing means that the risk for accidents is high. The laws and regulations set out in a state's Nurse Practice Act have been put together to reduce the risk of harm to patients and to protect them by ensuring the highest level of competence. The Nurse Practice Act aims to ensure that patients receive quality care while promoting patient safety.

​What The Nurse Practice Act and Nursing Regulations for Safe Practice

All registered nurses have a duty to understand the state's nurse practice act where they work, ensure that they adhere to the rules and regulations outlined, and to make sure that they are fully qualified and competent in their role as a registered nurse. It is also your responsibility as a nurse to make sure that you are aware of the laws that regulate your profession and to you keep updated on any changes made to the Nurse Practice Act to ensure that you are evolving with the scope of practice that is expected of you.

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