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It's About The "Nursing Standard Of Care"

The Nursing Standard of Care impacts everything you do in your work. It provides the guidelines for how you should behave, and what you should and should not do in the professional setting.  

Let's look a little closer…

The Nurses' standard of care is defined as what a reasonable and prudent nurse would do when caring for the same or similar patient in the same or similar circumstances, assuming similar education, training, and experience for the same situation. 

And while this is a broad definition and may be viewed as rather general, it allows for possible changes in which nursing may be practiced. Let me illustrate my point. 

Take the nursing standard of care for a nurse who provides care to a patient suffering from a particular disease and disability. The same nursing care by another prudent nurse in another facility should be provided when the circumstances are similar. 

Additionally, the nurse may recommend that further information be provided to the patient, suggest the patient be considered for additional services such as physical therapy, nutritional education, or perhaps other modalities. 

The standard of care is closely dependent and can include other circumstances and guidelines. Remember, a registered nurse is accountable for the care delegated to others. Often there is a need to understand the entire situation and the other requirements for competent care.  

A registered nurse is accountable for the care delegated to a licensed practical nurse and to certified nurse aides if the nursing care provided is within the registered nurse's scope of practice as defined in the regulations of the particular state.  

There are professional nurse conduct standards, but other standards are part of the full care picture too. These additional standards and requirements may be Federal, State, and Local. As I have said many times, it is like a pie sliced up, and there are many pieces.  

Federal Standards

Another example surrounding the nursing standard of care is the Federal standard for facility care (§ 483.70 - Administration [1]). It affects the nursing care provided by the prudent nurse, and it is essential to be aware of these Federal, State, Local, and professional standards. 

A facility must be administered in a manner that enables it to use its resources effectively and efficiently to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident

(a) Licensure. A facility must be licensed under applicable State and local law.

(b) Compliance with Federal, State, and local laws and professional standards. The facility must operate and provide services in compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws, regulations, and codes. It must do so with accepted professional standards and principles that apply to professionals providing services in such a facility.

State Standards

There are also State standards. Each state has its own set of standards that you need to be familiar with. 

Be aware that the State Administrative Codes and State professional standards for providing care can be part of your nursing standard of care as well. And even though you are not an attorney, you need to be familiar with all of these standards. 

After all, the nursing standard of care is all about maintaining patient safety while providing quality and efficient health care.


[1] https://www.govregs.com/regulations/


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