Ashley E. Wagner
Thus far, in what I consider to be a very short six year career as a professional nurse, I’ve had the opportunity to be both a bedside nurse doing direct patient care, and now more recently, a patient care supervisor. I still consider myself a new nurse in terms of my experience and knowledge associated with the laws, standards, and ethics in nursing. In doing this analysis paper I am learning the importance of being consistent laws and regulations of nursing for both myself and those of the staff I oversee.
Scope of Practice
On a basic level, the nursing scope of practice is the same for every nurse. When it comes to gaining a specialty in the field of nursing or reaching a higher level of education such as either being an intensive care unit nurse or a nurse practitioner, the scope of practice will then vary. I am a medical-surgical with basic telemetry trained nurse. My scope of practice possesses the basic skills needed to provide safe patient care of the community of patients a medical surgical floor take care of. Although I am do not have a specialty in nursing, the floor I work on is also a dual floor that takes care of orthopedic patients. Therefore, my scope of practice may be different than someone who works on a neurology or renal floor as I possess the knowledge from experience of taking care of orthopedic patients. When it comes to relating my personal practice to the American Nurses Association (ANA) scope of practice, using my common sense and nursing intuition has been my biggest determining factor when decided if something is within what I am allowed to do or not. If something doesn’t seem right or I am feeling uncomfortable with a certain task, I always hesitate and ask myself “is this within my scope of practice?” If I do not know for sure I will either ask someone with more experience than myself of seek documentation of the problem in question. By doing this, it both protects myself and the license I worked so hard to obtain, as well as protects the safety of my patient.
As a supervisor, I am always being approached by staff members with questions regarding if they are allowed to do a certain task or administer a certain medication. Not only am I resource for staff in order to help them understand if their personal practice lies within the scope of practice guidelines, but I also learn with that staff member if it something I do not have the knowledge of that we can look up together.
Legal Regulations and Professional Standards
Code of Ethics
Provisions seven thru nine in the ANA’s Code of Ethics covers aspects of nursing duties beyond individual patient encounters.
Provision seven of the ANA’s Code of Ethics states that “the nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions through practice, education, administration, and knowledge development” (ANA, 2001, p. 22). As nurses, we have an obligation to be involved directly in nursing, development and continue our professional education, and encourage community education throughout society. To be compliant with this provision a nurse can contribute by being mentors to others starting out in the nursing profession, participate in community healthcare programs, volunteer, as well as serve on a committee such as a shared governance board within the nurse’s organization. I already use provision seven in my career by being on a leadership team at my hospital. I mentor the other staff nurses on the unit by being their supervisor and resource. I am also continuing my education through The Ohio University to obtain my Bachelors of Science in Nursing.
Provision eight says that, “the nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public in promoting community, national, and international efforts to meet healthcare needs” (ANA, 2001, p. 23). Not only must the nurse work together with other health care professionals to meet