Understanding Legislated Scope of Practice

The practice of registered nursing in Saskatchewan is defined and enabled through The Registered Nurses Act, 1988, and is commonly referred to as legislated scope of practice. As a profession-led regulatory body, the College of Registered Nurses of Saskatchewan (CRNS) has the legislated authority and responsibility from this Act to regulate the practice of registered nursing in the public interest. The legislation and bylaws, practice standards, entry-level competencies and code of ethics provide the foundation for Registered Nurse (RN) and Nurse Practitioner (NP) practice in Saskatchewan.

All CRNS registrants have a legislated scope of practice, and each registrant has personal competence within it. For clarity, the term “scope” is reserved for legislated scope of practice within the regulatory framework.

RNs and NPs must practice within their legislated scope of practice and personal competence, as well as work within the policies, procedures and processes outlined by the employer. RNs and NPs recognize that the employer can limit but cannot expand their legislated scope of practice. It is also recognized that as evidence emerges, registered nursing practice evolves to meet the dynamic and changing needs of the clients. RNs and NPs play a key role in shaping employer policies, procedures, and processes in meeting the needs of the public.

Legislated Scope of Practice Self-Assessment Tool

It is the responsibility of each CRNS registrant to understand their legislated scope of practice and to practice within it. Each CRNS registrant must assess personal competence within the legislated scope of practice.  CRNS registrants must also work within their employer’s policies and procedures recognizing that the employer can limit their scope of practice but cannot expand it. When assessing if a particular activity or practice is within the legislated scope, it is paramount to ensure it is in the best interest of the client within their surrounding environment.

This self-assessment tool will help determine if a procedure or activity is within the CRNS registrant’s legislated scope of practice. Beginning with the first question, if you answer “Yes” then proceed through all three questions to determine if you should engage in the practice.

1. Is the activity within the legislated scope of practice?

2. Do you have the personal competence, including the knowledge, skill and judgement to safely perform the activity?

3. Is the activity supported by your employer and practice setting?

This Legislated Scope of Practice Assessment Tool is designed to help you consider if all three steps support the practice, and if there is ample evidence currently for you to engage in this practice. Using this tool regularly will be helpful because of the dynamic and changing needs of clients and the evidence to support their care. Sometimes things move swiftly. Be sure to communicate, engage and learn from one another. Also consider these questions: Is this practice being done by a Registered Nurse anywhere else in the province, Canada or internationally? Does the evidence support it being done by an RN? An NP? In which practice setting? What are the risks and benefits to the client? Nursing leadership and advocacy are key roles. How can you use your knowledge, skills and judgement for safe, effective practice in the interest of the public?

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