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Nursing Profession

Nursing profession

As a nursing profession we have a board of nursing that has put together a scope of practice that defines what we can and cannot do as a profession. “The scope of practice defines the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why”, and “how” of nursing practice” (American Nurses Association, 2010, p. 2). The scopes of practice help us as professional nurses to safely work with and delegate to other health professionals such as licensed practical nurses and unlicensed assistive personnel.

             Nurse Practice Act History

             As Russell points out in the article Nurse Practice Acts Guide and Govern Nursing Practice, there was no nurse practice acts to govern the nurse profession before the 1900s and anyone could call themselves a nurse (2012). Back in the 1800s communities were so small and everyone knew each other so intimately, that everyone just trusted the reputation of individuals to provide services such as nursing (Russell, 2012). Unfortunately, as the world kept growing and becoming more knowledgeable and technology started to advance, people became unable to safely judge what was and was not a good quality of service (Russell, 2012). For this reason, in the early 1900s the first nurse registration law was created to protect the title of a nurse so not just anyone could use the title nurse, and to improve nursing as a profession (Russell, 2012). It wasn’t until 1938 that the first nurse practice act was developed by the state of New York that gave nurses a scope of practice to follow, because earlier registration laws failed to do this (Russell, 2012). By 1970 all fifty United States had jumped on board and created a nurse practice act, and required both registered and practical nurses to be licensed (Russell, 2012).

             Function of Michigan Board of Nursing.

             The nurse practice act cannot guide the profession of nursing on its own (Russell, 2012). To make up for its insufficiencies the nurse practice act needed to establish a board of nursing that, according to Russell, “had the authority to develop administrative rules or regulations to clarify or make the law more specific” (2012, p. 37). The board of nursing must keep the rules and regulations consistent with that of the nurse practice act (Russell, 2012). All rules and regulations are put before a public review before they can be enacted (Russell, 2012). “The board of nursing is charged with maintaining the balance between the rights of the nurse to practice nursing and the responsibility to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of its citizens” (Russell, 2012, p. 37). The board of nursing is also in charge of setting standards for nursing schools looking to go through the pre-licensure program and what is expected during the schools clinical learning experiences, and must approve each program that meets the nurse practice act requirements (Russell, 2012).

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             State of Michigan Public Health Code (Excerpt) Act 368 of 1978.

             I was able to find three excerpts in the nursing section of the Michigan Public Health Code that pertain to registered nurses. Excerpt 333.17201 is definitions, and part c gives the definition of a registered professional nurse. It states, a “Registered professional nurse or R.N. means an individual licensed under this article to engage in the practice of nursing which scope of practice includes the teaching, direction, and supervision of less skilled personnel in the performance of delegated nursing activities” (“Public Health Code (Excerpt) Act 368 of 1978”, 1978, p. 1). This excerpt allows registered nurses to understand how their role is defined and what their scope of practice is defined as.
             Excerpt 333.17211 talks about the practice of nursing or practicing as a licensed practical nurse. There are two sections to this excerpt and both pertain to the profession of a registered nurse.