The scope of practice refers to all the activities, procedures, ethics, and conducts that underpin the delivery of services within a profession. The scope of nursing entails the promotion of health, ease of recovery, and alleviation of suffering among individuals, families, communities, and population (American Nurses Association, 2015). Nurses need to have adequate skills and cultural background to get the license to practice the profession.
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Within this scenario, individuals, groups, and institutions are evaluated by a third-party credentialing body to assess if they meet a specific set of standards. This paper will analyze similarities and differences between the roles of the state board of nursing and the roles of professional organizations. The most relevant credentialing approaches are deepened to understand how they protect the public and the scope of the practice.
Roles of State Board of Nursing and Professional Organizations in Regulating Professional Practice
State boards of nursing and professional nursing organizations are the main actors in outlining the standards of the profession and ensuring a proper nursing practice. Each state has an appointed board of nursing, in charge of administering the Nursing Practice Act within the state (Cherry & Jacob, 2017). Within each state, the Nursing Practice Acts establish the regulations for nurses, outlining the requirements for licenses and the scope of nursing practice.
The state board of nursing provides the administrative environment to put the Act into practice. Also, the board is responsible for monitoring and renewing the issued licenses. Nursing associations are professional organizations led by a board of directors elected by members of the association. Professional organizations aim at promoting advancement in health care through educations, research, practice, and advocacy (Taylor, 2016). They represent nurses in legislative, political, and practice questions and can influence and lobby the decision makers for the interests of their members and to improve the welfare of the population.
Major Methods of Credentialing, Their Benefits and Weaknesses
Nurse credentialing includes a vast array of activities and processes aimed at recognizing that an individual has met the standard requisites to perform specific tasks. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has identified seven approaches of credentialing, including licensure, registration, certification, accreditation, charter, recognition, and approval (Needleman, Dittus, Pittman, Spetz, & Newhouse, 2014). Licensure and certifications are among the most relevant. As a requirement, all nurses must be licensed (Cherry & Jacob, 2017). Licensure ensures that all nurses have reached an adequate level of knowledge and can perform standard tasks.
Moreover, additional requirements prevent mentally unstable subjects or drug addicts from entering the profession. On the one hand, licensures aim at protecting the public from the performance below the standards or harmful attitudes. On the other, they protect the role of registered nurses from unregistered and under-skilled practitioners. One of the weaknesses in the licensure approach relates to the increased mobility of nurses, the lack of mutual recognition among different Nursing Practice Acts, and the difficulty of monitoring the practice of nurses in diverse jurisdictions.
Certifications refer to advanced clinical courses which provide additional education to nurses. While licensures set the minimum standards for the profession and are ruled by the state board of nursing, certifications aim at recognizing excellence in nursing and are granted by nongovernmental organizations. The public is the major beneficiary of certifications, as patients can benefit from the improved skills of nurses. Certifications improve the provision of differentiating and highly specialized services within the healthcare environment. One of the major issues in certifications is choosing which organizations and groups are to test and credential advanced nursing.
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Nursing profession and practice are regulated by the state boards of nursing and professional organizations. The former provides the administrative background to put the Nursing Practice Act into practice, the latter advocates for nurses in legislative, political, and practice questions. Nurse credentialing entails a complex system of activities aimed at delivering improved healthcare services, define roles and duties within the healthcare environment, and protecting the excellence of the nursing profession.
American Nurses Association. (2015). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (3rd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.
Cherry, B., & Jacob S. R. (2017). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, and management (7th ed.). Saint Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Needleman, J., Dittus, R. S., Pittman, P., Spetz, J., & Newhouse R. (2014). Nurse credentialing research frameworks and perspectives for assessing a research agenda. Web.
Taylor, M. R. S. (2016). Impact of advocacy initiatives on nurses’ motivation to sustain momentum in public policy advocacy. Journal of Professional Nursing, 32(2), 235-245. Web.