Nursing Practice Act and Code of State Regulations

Nurses, like other licensed professionals, are regulated by various state laws. One important state law that directly affects the practice of nursing is the nursing practice act. Nursing practice acts originated to protect the public from unsafe and unlicensed practice, by regulating nursing practice and nursing education. Nursing practice acts define nursing, set standards for the nursing profession and give guidance regarding scope of practice issues. As such, the state nursing practice act is the single most important piece of legislation affecting nursing practice.

Nursing practice acts are not checklists. They contain general statements of appropriate professional nursing actions. The nurse must incorporate the nursing practice act with his or her educational background, previous work experience, institutional policies, and technological advancements. The main purpose of nursing practice acts is to protect the public from unsafe practitioners, and the ultimate goal is competent, quality nursing care provided by qualified practitioners.

Nurses have an ethical and legal responsibility to maintain the currency of their practice in today’s changing health care system and to be familiar with the nursing practice act.

The Missouri Nursing Practice Act is found in the State of Missouri Statutes RSMo 335. You can access the statute at:

Brent, Nancy. (1997). Nurses and The Law, A Guide to Principles and Applications. W.B.Saunders Company.

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