The standards of care or practice in nursing are general guidelines. These guidelines provide a basis as to:
- how a nurse should act and
- what they should or should not do in their professional capacity
When a nurse moves away from the standard this can result in certain legal issues. This article will discuss the standards of nursing care.
By definition a standard is a well-known practice that is accepted as correct in a specific industry. Organizations providing oversight often develop standards of practice. This is so as to define the type of quality that should be provided. In nursing, such standards change as new methods and technology changes. The standards are based on the most recent scientific data available. With regards to nursing, standards have been developed through the contribution of administrative, academic and clinical experts.
Nursing standards of care are important because they recognize the trusted role that nurses play. When one thinks back on the history of nursing, Florence Nightingale comes to mind Such standards are considered to be the baseline for quality care. These standards must be developed according to state and federal rules, regulations and laws that govern the practice of nursing. Other agencies and organizations may assist in the development of such standards. It is important to note that standards of care apply equally to nurses in various settings. Additionally, such standards govern the nurses’ practice at every level of practice.
It is not uncommon for standards of care to be established at a national level. This allows for care to be the same regardless of the venue. However, states and local areas may also establish their own set of standards of care. By doing this nursing care is uniform by national standards while specific to the needs of the community. When nurses negligently fail to follow these standards and cause injury their actions rise to malpractice.