Every state has its own Board of Nursing (BON) that establishes laws regarding nursing practices and education. Even if you are licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, your nursing duties are limited to a particular scope of practice. Acting outside of this scope of practice can result in serious penalties.

Why does scope of practice exist?

The BON was put in place in each state to protect patients. As medical practices significantly impact people’s health and safety, as well as require extensive training and education, they need to be strictly regulated.

Some examples of acting outside of your scope of practice may include:

  • Dispensing medication without a prescription
  • Dispensing medication improperly
  • Charting improperly or failing to chart
  • Committing medical malpractice

How to avoid scope of practice penalties

As with most charges brought against medical professionals, you could have your license suspended or revoked. In addition, your employer may file a complaint against you with the BON.

You need to make sure you fully understand what is and is not within your scope of practice. Do not act outside of your scope even if a physician asks you to do so. He or she may not understand your scope, and the potential penalties are not worth risking.

If you are a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP), you have more authority than Registered Nurses do. However, you still must obtain a doctor’s written approval for certain healthcare decisions. The best way to protect yourself is to know the full range of responsibilities and limitations to your practice.

If you are at risk of losing your license, it is important to contact a license defense attorney immediately. Your career could be at stake.