Scope of Practice and Differentiated Practice Competencies

Nurses have professional obligations that enable them to act within the scope of their employment. Various states have distinct practices regarding the scope of work, which dictates a nurse's behaviors. Nursing entails delivering and promoting health, avoiding injuries and sickness, treating and diagnosing patients, and advocating for their care. Nurses are limited in their area of practice according on their level of experience, education (LPN, DNP, etc.), and speciality, which may include the OR, ICU, or pediatrics. Factors to consider when determining whether or not the identified actions are within the domain of nursing practices comprise:

Whether the tasks and skills given to nurses are within their basic learning program, for instance, taking a manual blood test is a basic skill taught in all nursing schools. Nurses can tell if their current responsibilities are part of the training program and clinical experience. An example is the OR nurses who learn how electricity is used in surgery, how to place burns to prevent electrical accidents, how to give instruments to the surgeon and how to help anesthesia provider to incubate the sleeping patient.

Another factor is whether the actions have become commonplace in nursing practice and literature. Such activities can be said to be within the scope. Formally only doctors handled wounds, but it has become a common practice such that nurses have also learned how to handle them.

Finally, the tasks allocated to a nurse in a hospital or a clinic should be as provided in the procedure manual. It is a code of practice if it is in the book. The task should pass a reasonable and prudent nursing standard; this is based on the fact that nursing is all about reasoning and being thoughtful about the future. Nurses act within their scope of practice if all the above are followed.

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