ANA Scope & Standards of Practice: Enhancing the Care to Older Adults

As the professional organization representing all registered nurses, the ANA has the responsibility to describe the scope and standards of practice for all registered nurses. The recently revised scope of practice statement included in Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (ANA, 2004), describes the who, what, where, when, why, and how of nursing practice. As a part of this work, providing age appropriate and culturally sensitive care has been referenced to include care of older adults.

The companion standards of practice are authoritative statements by which the nursing profession describes the responsibilities for which its practitioners are accountable. The standards, written in measurable terms, reflect the values and priorities of the profession, provide direction for professional nursing practice, and serve as a framework for the evaluation of this practice. A second cornerstone document, Nursing's Social Policy Statement, Second Edition (ANA, 2003), defines the nursing profession's accountability to the public and the outcomes for which registered nurses are responsible.

Available companion standards of practice include:

  • Scope and Standards of Gerontological Nursing Practice, 2nd Edition (2001), written in collaboration with the National Gerontological Nursing Association, National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care, and National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners. This publication is provided free-of-charge to each specialty nursing organization targeted by NCA. They are encouraged to consider incorporation of some of the principles within their own scope and standards documents for their specialty.
  • Scope and Standards of Home Health Nursing Practice (ANA, 1999).
  • Scope and Standards of Hospice and Palliative Nursing Practice (2002), written in collaboration with the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.

The ANA's scope and standards of practice serve as a resource template for specialty nursing organizations when defining their practice domain. Often specialty nursing organizations elect to clarify the uniqueness of their specialty nursing practice by publishing a specialty nursing scope and standards document. Similarly, specialty nursing credentialing bodies rely on the scope and standards when developing certification examinations and other components of the credentialing program. The scope and standards are often integrated into curriculum content and may be consulted by regulatory bodies, legislators, and lawyers. Students, colleagues, and healthcare consumers review the scope and standards to learn about the nursing specialty.

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