What US RNs need to know: The Nurse Practice Act
WHAT IS THE NURSE PRACTICE ACT?
The Nurse Practice Act is essentially your nursing rulebook! Each state has its own Nurse Practice Act that you must learn, know and live by when working as a registered nurse in the USA. The Nurse Practice Act ensures that all registered nurses are qualified and competent of doing their job 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 out the standards for educational programs
- Sets out 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
- Outlines the grounds for disciplinary action and other violations.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The intimate nature of nursing means that the risk of 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 patients by ensuring the highest level of competence. The Nurse Practice Act aims to ensure that patients are receiving quality care and promote patient safety.
WHAT IS MY INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY?
All registered nurses have a duty to understand the states 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 to make sure that you are aware of the laws that regulate your profession and to you keep yourself 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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