Western Governor's University
Professional Roles and Values
The Professional Nurse
To provide safe and competent care to patients through the furthering of knowledge; compassionate care from the heart and mind, and promotion of nurses for the future through mentoring.
Nursing is a medical profession overseen by many rules and regulations. Expectations of the Registered Nurse are high, predominately due to these abovementioned safeguards. There are two main bodies involved with the development of the profession of Registered nurse; regulatory agencies and professional organizations.
A main regulatory agency is the Board of Registered Nurses (BRN), a state governmental agency developed to protect the public through regulating the registered nursing practice. The BRN is responsible for implementation and enforcement of the Nursing Practice Act: the laws related to nursing education, licensure, practice, and discipline. Each state has a law called the Nurse Practice Act, which nurses must comply with in order to maintain their licenses. These acts outline license qualifications, titles allowed by the nurse, scope of practice, and actions that may be taken when this law is not followed (National Council of State Boards of Nursing website, 2014). The BRN sets educational standards for the registered nurse, approves nursing programs, evaluates licensing applications, issues and renews licenses, issues advanced practice certifications and, may take disciplinary actions against the nurse’s license (Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Registered Nursing website, n.d.).
A Professional nursing organization, the largest being the American Nurses Association, sets standards to base American nurse’s actions and behavior. Although the ANA is not law, it has a set code of ethics under its umbrella which serves as a guide for carrying out nursing responsibilities in a manner consistent with quality in nursing care and the ethical obligations of the profession (American Nurses Association, Code of Ethics website, 2010).
Nursing Code Examples
As a practicing Telemetry nurse within a busy local hospital, the RN must retain responsibility and accountability for the care delivered to the patient. This means that while the RN may delegate certain appropriate duties to the nursing assistant and/or student, it is the Registered Nurse who bears full responsibility for these duties. For example; during morning assessments, the RN may delegate to the nursing assistant the task of taking vital signs for each patient and reporting any abnormal results to the RN. While this task is appropriate for the nursing assistant, according to Provision 4 of the code of ethics by the American Nurses Association, “the nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse’s obligation to provide optimum patient care.” Thus, the responsibility of accuracy or any abnormality in vital signs remains the responsibility of the Registered nurse (American Nurses Association, Code of Ethics website, 2010)
The same Telemetry nurse continues to pursue additional competencies in the form of certifications and completion of an accredited Baccalaureate program. Since licensure reflects minimal competency for duties at hand, while certifications reflect excellence, this distinguishes the abovementioned RN as adhering to maintaining competency, personal and professional growth as stated in Provision 5 of the code of ethics, “The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.” (American Nurses Association, Code of Ethics website, 2010)
As part of the disciplinary team, caring for a variety of patients, the Registered nurse should