Similarities and Differences
The main common feature of nurse practice acts in selected states is that they contain the general provisions for nursing professions. Also, both acts aim at ensuring that all nursing practitioners adhere to the requirements of safe practice. Another similarity is the definition and scope of practice of nurses. There are no significant differences between the states’ acts. However, some structural divergences are present. Also, the acts use different titles for assistive personnel: in the Florida act, such employees are referred to as “medical assistants” (“Florida nurse practice act,” 2008). In the New York act, they are called “support staff” (“New York nurse practice act,” 2010).
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Standards and Scope of Nursing Practice for RNs, LPNs, and Unlicensed Assistive Personnel
In the Florida state act, the scope of nursing practice for RNs is defined as the practice of professional nursing that includes:
- the observation, evaluation, planning, intervention, nursing diagnosis, health education, and wellness promotion;
- the administration of treatments and medications prescribed by licensed specialists;
- the supervision and instructing of other nurses (“Florida nurse practice act,” 2008).
In the New York state act, RNs’ scope of practice involves:
- the diagnosis, corrective measures, and therapeutic help;
- collaboration with licensed physicians;
- drug prescription;
- reviewing patient records promptly (“New York nurse practice act,” 2010).
LPNs’ scope of practice is defined in the acts of both states under comparison as any person who has completed a program in practical nursing and has received a license (“New York nurse practice act,” 2010; “Florida nurse practice act,” 2008).
The duties and responsibilities of unlicensed assistive personnel are similar on both acts, and they include:
- carrying out clinical duties (taking vital signs, preparing patients for procedures, making injections);
- giving first aid;
- preparing medical equipment;
- carrying out basic lab procedures (“New York nurse practice act,” 2010; “Florida nurse practice act,” 2008).
Rules for Effective Delegation
In the New York act, regulations for effective delegation are described as unlicensed assistive personnel. It is mentioned that under the supervision of an RN or an LPN or after training, support staff can be delegated such responsibilities as tube feeding of patients, drug administration, and diabetic care (“New York nurse practice act,” 2010). In the Florida act, similar duties can be delegated: unlicensed assistants may perform aseptic procedures, administer medications, and perform dialysis procedures under supervision (“Florida nurse practice act,” 2008).
Rules for Safe Practice
The explanation of safe practice regulations is similar in both states’ acts. However, both documents do not refer to these rules directly. Rather, they focus on the responsibilities of nurses and mention what punishment they will receive for violating them. Thus, it is possible, to sum up the rules for safe practice as follows:
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- the administration of medications should be supervised by the RN or LPN;
- all procedures performed in healthcare facilities or at patients’ homes should be performed at the highest level, striving to minimize the risk for patients;
- nursing practitioners’ incompetence in some aspects, if not admitted, should be punished. If recognized, it should be resolved through guidance and education (“New York nurse practice act,” 2010; “Florida nurse practice act,” 2008).
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