Registered nurse scope of practice to be made more flexible.
Subject: Registered nurses (Practice)
Practice guidelines (Medicine)
Pub Date: 08/01/2010
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2010 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics
Product: Product Code: 8043110 Nurses, Registered NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 236247974
Full Text: The registered nurse (RN) scope of practice is to be changed, made more flexible and will include new competencies to accommodate expanded practice. The long-awaited decision follows a meeting of the Nursing Council Last month and an extensive submission process Last year.

Changes to the RN scope, which excludes nurse prescribing, are expected to be made by the end of this month. The key phrase to be included in new guidelines for nurses and employers will read: "Registered nurses are accountable for ensuring all health services they provide are consistent with the education and assessment competencies, meet required regulation and are supported by appropriate standards."

"The new scope will be enabling," said Nursing Council chief executive Carolyn Reed. "Nurses who take on expanded roles will need to make sure they follow the guidelines and meet the competencies for expanded practice.

"When they apply for their annual practising certificate, they will need to notify the Council they are working in an expanded scope. Those involved in a professional development and recognition programme will be assessed against the expanded competencies or will be assessed as part of the five percent random audit.

"When new rotes and activities arise, as long as nurses have the appropriate education and are assessed as competent, they won't have to apply to the Council for authorisation. For example, nurse colposcopists and first surgical assistants previously had to apply to the Council to take on these rotes, as the RN scope wasn't expansive enough. Now they will be able to get that authorisation through their employers."

Reed says the changes will mean the profession will be more responsive to expanded nursing rotes. The guidelines will cover the shared responsibilities the regulator, the employer and the professional organisation all have to ensure public safely. These are expected to be published on the Council website by the end of this month or early September.

The Council has approved revised education standards for the RN scope of practice. They are being distributed to nursing schools this month.

* Nursing Council research into how best to measure nurses' continuing competence will be Launched in October. The year-long project has been led by the head of the Eastern Institute of Technology's nursing school Rachael Vernon.
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