Monday, May 28, 2007

Administrative Laws for Nurses

The Legislature passes laws, called statutes, which govern nursing practice. An example of such an enacted law is the Nurse Practice Act (“NPA”). The NPA is very general because it is intended to apply to all registered or vocational nurses regardless of their practice specialty. The Board of Nurses enact rules and regulations that further interpret the NPA (The Legislature gives the Board the power to enact rules and regulations). For example, the NPA may state that the Board has the power to investigate complaints against nurses, but how the Board goes about doing an investigation is detailed in the Board's rules and regulations.

With each legislative session, there is an opportunity for the NPA to undergo changes and the Board can enact new rules and regulations throughout the year. So, nurses must pay attention to what legislators are trying to pass as laws in order to protect their nursing practice and nurses need to watch for proposed rule postings by the Board. Nursing Associations are an easy way to monitor these potential changes to nursing practice.

Nurses should have a current copy of the nursing practice act, rules and regulations or know how to access them on the Internet. Ignorance is No Defense.

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