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nursing standards of practice



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    Outline the process for developing nursing standards of practice and identity the different entities that might be involved in developing a standard of practice.

    Webster’s dictionary defines the word standard as “ criterion: something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value or quality ”. Standards of practice may be defined as professionally established guidelines or criterion of performance that a registered nurse must adhere to. “Standards of care were developed and implemented to define the quality of care provided. They are the basis for nursing care and draw on the latest scientific data from nursing literature. Clinical, administrative and academic experts have contributed to the development of standards of nursing practice.” ( The nursing standard of practice is the GPS that leads nurses to the commensurate judgement, skill and knowledge base desired to practice nursing professionally. There is an expectation of accountability, integrity, ethics, quality and safe care to be rendered by the licensed nurse.

    The process 
for developing nursing practice

    As per ANA, “Our members are nurses on the floor and in the field. So when a challenge or trend arises in our profession, ANA relies on our members as the first link in developing an official resource. Members are nominated to a working group that thoroughly researches the issue and writes a statement before going to ANA for final approval. This bottom-up approach to our statements helps ensure our standards are current and accurately represent nurses across the nation.” (

    “The standards of practice shall:
    1. Be considered as the baseline for quality nursing care
    2. Be developed in relation to the law governing nursing practice 3. Apply to the registered nurse practicing in any setting
    4. Govern the practice of the licensee at all levels of practice

    Federal and state laws, rules and regulation and other professional agencies/organizations help define standards of practice. They are developed by professional organizations, usually at the national level, to establish norms for the average practitioner. The ANA and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) have established nationally recognized standards of care. These standards can hold nurses accountable, regardless of their area or state of practice. SOC’s can be found at a national, state and local level. The trend is toward national SOC’s. All levels of expertise, from new graduate to experience nurse, should be able to meet these expectations of practice.” (

    Nursing standards of practice are procured from a wide range of sources, which includes but not limited to state and federal laws. Every state has a nursing practice act that delineates the rules and regulations that govern the practice of nursing in that particular state. “These rules and regulations typically fall under the jurisdiction of the state’s Board of Nursing. Standards for practice also come from national nursing organizations such as the ANA, and specialty organizations such as Association of Operating Room Nurses, or AORN.”



    Webster, Miriam, 1996. Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition

    nursing standards of practice. (2016, Aug 19). Retrieved from

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