Those who choose to enter the profession of nursing must prepare to navigate a number of issues. Two examples currently spotlighted by the media include the various scopes of practice and problems with patient violence.
Scope of practice: Different in every state
Every state has its own laws that govern the field of nursing. The Texas Legislature passes the regulations that govern the field in the state, known as the Nursing Practice Act. Nurses that fail to abide by these regulations could find themselves needing to defend their license.
Unfortunately, not every hospital takes steps to educate their staff about the nuances of the law. Nurses can take continued education courses, often offered online, to help better ensure they understand applicable rules and regulations. A local professional nursing association can also provide helpful resources to better ensure compliance.
Patient violence: The dangers of working with the ill
Nursing is one of the top five most dangerous professions in the country. Nurses can be victims of the violent actions of inebriated or mentally ill patients.
Lawmakers are considering a bill to help protect nurses from violent situations. The bill, Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, is written to require hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities to develop a safety plan that protects nurses and other workers from violent patients. California passed a similar law in 2016. The state requires employers work with employees to develop and implement a violence prevention plan.
The proposal would also remove any recourse if a nurse calls for emergency assistance.
It is not clear yet if this law will gain momentum or not. Watch here for updates on its progress.