Scope of care (also known as scope of practice) refers to the list of activities that a licensed healthcare professional is authorized to perform. A scope of care is informed by licensing entity guidelines, state and federal law, and employer workplace regulations.
Since there are many different professions in the field of healthcare, the details of a scope of care vary depending on the roles people fill. For example, the American Nurses Association maintains The Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, while the American Medical Association (AMA) provides Scope of Practice guidance for nonphysician providers, including nurse practitioners.
Scope of Practice Laws
Individual states in the U.S. are in charge of healthcare professional licensing standards. Each state can also set its own scope of practice laws that define the services nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and other professionals can legally provide.
This has led to widely varying laws from state to state. Lawmakers contend that scope of practice laws protect patients from malpractice and the harmful effects of medical mistakes. However, some studies dispute this and make the case that the laws limit the overall number of providers available to the general public.
What’s Included in a Scope of Care?
Scope of practice laws at the state level defines and limit the procedures a medical professional can perform and when they can perform them. For instance, a paramedic may be limited in the actions they can take unless it’s a life-or-death situation.
State laws dictate whether a nurse practitioner can maintain an independent practice. A scope of care will also define who can prescribe and dispense medication in which circumstances.
A professional organization or employer’s scope of care might also include provisions regarding professional conduct, leading to some overlap with scope of employment guidelines.
How TempDev Can Help With the Scope of Care
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