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Barriers to RN Scope of Practice Panel

ANA’s Professional Issues Panel on Barriers to RN Scope of Practice began work on this topic in 2015. Nearly 250 applications were received. Two groups were convened to advise the association and support this important work: the Steering Committee (consisting of 15 individuals) and the Advisory Committee (consisting of 243 members). The co-chairs of the Steering Committee were Kathy Baker, PhD, NE-BC, RN, and Tracy Williams, DNP, RN.

The goal of this Professional Issues Panel was to identify and clarify barriers to RNs practicing to the full extent of their education, experience, and scope of practice (as set down by the relevant Nurse Practice Act). The Steering Committee and some members of the Advisory Committee examined research to identify barriers at all levels (including individual, organizational, and regulatory; explored the basis for the barriers; and developed recommendations to address those barriers.

Following this process, a number of Steering Committee members agreed to develop a series of articles on this work for an upcoming publication of the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (OJIN), a peer-reviewed publication that provides a forum for discussion of the issues inherent in current topics of interest to nurses and other health care professionals.  

The OJIN publication of September 30, 2016, addressed the topic, Elimination of Barriers to RN Scope of Practice: Opportunities and Challenges. The OJIN Overview and Summary: Elimination of Barriers to RN Scope of Practice: Opportunities and Challenges, describes the work of the Panel. Five substantive articles were written by members of the Steering Committee:

Registered Nurses as Professionals: Accountability for Education and Practice

Registered Nurses as Caregivers: Influencing the System as Patient Advocates

Registered Nurses Leading Innovative Changes

Registered Nurses as Interprofessional Collaborative Partners: Creating Value-Based Outcomes

Registered Nurses as Professionals, Advocates, Innovators, and Collaborative Leaders: Executive Summary

The OJIN topic also included an article entitled Enhancing Patient Safety: Factors Influencing Medical Error Recovery Among Medical-Surgical Nurses, which presented a view on barriers to RN scope of practice from outside the work of the Panel. This article examines the relationships between nurse characteristics, organizational factors, and recovery of medical errors among medical-surgical nurses in hospitals. The work of this Panel will inform ANA staff and leadership as they consider next steps to addressing this important topic.

* Note: The focus of this Panel is on barriers to RN Scope of Practice. ANA also remains committed to removing barriers to APRN practice and care. Individuals seeking additional information on the topic of APRN scope of practice may visit our APRN page.

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