The authority for the regis­tered nurse to practice profes­sional nursing derives from a social contract delin­eating the nurse’s rights and respon­si­bil­i­ties for remaining account­able to the public. The regis­tered nurse is expected to practice within a profes­sional frame­work defined by various documented rules, regula­tions and standards. Nursing practice is governed by law and entrance into the profes­sion is regulated at both the national and state levels. The Scope and Standards of Nursing Practice estab­lished by the American Nurses Associ­a­tion provides the founda­tion for nursing practice. Further practice oblig­a­tions occur because of the regis­tered nurse’s account­ability to the specific organi­za­tion or insti­tu­tion where the nurse is employed, i.e. via organi­za­tional policies and proce­dures. Addition­ally, regis­tered nurses are expected to continue to enhance their knowl­edge and skill and demon­strate continued compe­tency throughout their career.


Continuing Competency

Final rules for Contin­uing Compe­tency went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011. Regis­tered nurses and licensed practical nurses will be required to begin maintaining documentation/​verification of compli­ance illus­trating at least 531 hours of active practice and 45 hours of contin­uing educa­tion every three years. The three year period begins with the nurse’s 2011 birthday date. Audits for compli­ance will begin in 2014. Licen­sure renewals will continue to be on an annual basis; however, nurses will be expected to sign an attes­ta­tion every three years to reflect that they are compliant with the require­ments for both practice and contin­uing educa­tion hours. For additional infor­ma­tion, go to the Contin­uing Compe­tency page.


Resources / links


Liability insurance

All practicing regis­tered nurses should carry their own profes­sional liability insur­ance and WSNA has selected Nurses Service Organi­za­tion (NSO) as the program best suited for its members. This plan is designed to meet the unique needs of today’s nursing profes­sionals and students of nursing as well as Home Health Care & Staffing Agencies.


Nurse delegation

The Nurse Delega­tion Program, under Washington state law, allows nursing assis­tants working in certain settings to perform certain tasks — such as admin­is­tra­tion of prescrip­tion medica­tions or blood glucose testing — normally performed only by licensed nurses. A regis­tered nurse must teach and super­vise the nursing assis­tant, as well as provide nursing assess­ments of the patient’s condi­tion. For further infor­ma­tion go to https://​www​.dshs​.wa​.gov/​a​l​t​s​a​/​r​e​s​i​d​e​n​t​i​a​l​-​c​a​r​e​-​s​e​r​v​i​c​e​s​/​n​u​r​s​e​-​d​e​l​e​g​a​t​i​o​n​-​p​r​ogram or contact the Nurse Delega­tion Program Manager at 3606516828.