Legal Parameters for Expanded Roles in Nursing

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In recent years many state nurse practice acts have been revised to relect changes in modern nursing. Advances in science and technology, as well as the emergence of nursing specialties, have contributed to widespread acceptance of expanded nursing practice. All nurses who work with neurologically impaired clients are affected by specific legislation governing nursing practice in their state, however, those neuroscience nurses engaged in advanced practice are most seriously in need of protection under the law.

As nurse practice acts are revised, nurses should support the approach which lends the most protection to nurses as their practice base expands. Some issues that must be considered include whether states should choose specific, narrow wording articulating guidelines and standards for each area of specialized practice, or whether a broad, more generic nurse practice act attempting to authorize all nursing actions should be used.