As a nursing profession we have a board of nursing that has put together a scope of practice that defines what we can and cannot do as a profession. "The scope of practice defines the "who", "what", "where", "when", "why", and "how" of nursing practice" (American Nurses Association, 2010, p. 2). The scopes of practice help us as professional nurses to safely work with and delegate to other health professionals such as licensed practical nurses and unlicensed assistive personnel.
Nurse Practice Act History.
As Russell points out in the article Nurse Practice Acts Guide and Govern Nursing Practice, there was no nurse practice acts to govern the nurse profession before the 1900s and anyone could call themselves a nurse (2012). Back in the 1800s communities were so small and everyone knew each other so intimately, that everyone just trusted the reputation of individuals to provide services such as nursing (Russell, 2012). Unfortunately, as the world kept growing and becoming more knowledgeable and technology started to advance, people became unable to safely judge what was and was not a good quality of service (Russell, 2012). For this reason, in the early 1900s the first nurse registration law was created to protect the title of a nurse so not just anyone could use the title nurse, and to improve nursing as a profession (Russell, 2012). It wasn't until 1938 that the first nurse practice act was developed by the state of New York that gave nurses a scope of practice to follow, because earlier registration laws failed to do this (Russell, 2012). By 1970 all fifty United States had jumped on board and created a nurse practice act, and required both registered and practical nurses to be licensed (Russell, 2012).
Function of Michigan Board of Nursing.
The nurse practice act cannot guide the profession of nursing on its own (Russell, 2012).