Standards of Nursing Practice

Standards of nursing practice developed by the American Nurses’ Association (ANA) provide guidelines for nursing performance. They are the rules or definition of what it means to provide competent care. The registered professional nurse is required by law to carry out care in accordance with what other reasonably prudent nurses would do in the same or similar circumstances. Thus, provision of high quality care consistent with established standards is critical.

As defined by the American Nurses’ Association (ANA), standards of nursing practice consist of three components:

  1. Professional standards of care define diagnostic, intervention, and evaluation competencies.
  2. Professional performance standards identify role functions in direct care, consultation, and quality assurance.
  3. Specialty practice guidelines are protocols of care for specific populations.

The ANA has developed and published standards for clinical nursing practice and specialty practice including public health nursing. A list of the standards of public health nursing are available here.

Copies of the scope and standards documents can be ordered from American Nurses Association by clicking here.

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

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