These definitions relate to the use of terms in the Registered nurse standards for practice.
Accountability means that nurses answer to the people in their care, the nursing regulatory authority, their employers and the public. Nurses are accountable for their decisions, actions, behaviours and the responsibilities that are inherent in their nursing roles including documentation. Accountability cannot be delegated. The registered nurse who delegates activities to be undertaken by another person remains accountable for the decision to delegate, for monitoring the level of performance by the other person, and for evaluating the outcomes of what has been delegated (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia 2013). See below for the related definition of ‘Delegation’.
Criteria in this document means the actions and behaviours of the RN that demonstrate these standards for practice.
Delegation is the relationship that exists when a RN delegates aspects of their nursing practice to another person such as an enrolled nurse, a student nurse or a person who is not a nurse. Delegations are made to meet peoples’ needs and to enable access to health care services, that is, the right person is available at the right time to provide the right service. The RN who is delegating retains accountability for the decision to delegate. They are also accountable for monitoring of the communication of the delegation to the relevant persons and for the practice outcomes. Both parties share the responsibility of making the delegation decision, which includes assessment of the risks and capabilities. In some instances delegation may be preceded by teaching and competence assessment. For further details see the NMBA’s National framework for the development of decision-making tools for nursing and midwifery practice (2013).
Enrolled nurse is a person who provides nursing care under the direct or indirect supervision of a registered nurse. They have completed the prescribed education preparation, and demonstrate competence to practise under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as an enrolled nurse in Australia. Enrolled nurses are accountable for their own practice and remain responsible to a registered nurse for the delegated care.
Evidence-based practice is accessing and making judgements to translate the best available evidence, which includes the most current, valid, and available research findings into practice.
Person or people is used in these standards to refer to those individuals who have entered into a therapeutic and/or professional relationship with a registered nurse. These individuals will sometimes be health care consumers, at other times they may be colleagues or students, this will vary depending on who is the focus of practice at the time. Therefore, the words person or people include all the patients, clients, consumers, families, carers, groups and/or communities that are within the registered nurse scope and context of practice. The registered nurse has professional relationships in health care related teams.
Person-centred practice is collaborative and respectful partnership built on mutual trust and understanding through good communication. Each person is treated as an individual with the aim of respecting people’s ownership of their health information, rights and preferences while protecting their dignity and empowering choice. Person-centred practice recognises the role of family and community with respect to cultural and religious diversity.
Registered nurse is a person who has completed the prescribed education preparation, demonstrates competence to practise and is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as a registered nurse in Australia.
Scope of practice is that in which nurses are educated, competent to perform and permitted by law. The actual scope of practice is influenced by the context in which the nurse practises, the health needs of people, the level of competence and confidence of the nurse and the policy requirements of the service provider.
Standards for practice in this document are the expectations of registered nurse practice. They inform the education standards for registered nurses, the regulation of nurses and determination of the nurse’s capability for practice, and guide consumers, employers and other stakeholders on what to reasonably expect from a registered nurse regardless of the area of nursing practice or years of nursing experience. They replace the previous National competency standards for the registered nurse (2010).
Supervision includes managerial supervision, professional supervision and clinically focused supervision. For further details see the NMBA’s, Supervision guidelines for nursing and midwifery (2015).
Therapeutic relationships are different to personal relationships. In a therapeutic relationship the nurse is sensitive to a person’s situation and purposefully engages with them using knowledge and skills in respect, compassion and kindness. In the relationship the person’s rights and dignity are recognised and respected. The professional nature of the relationship involves recognition of professional boundaries and issues of unequal power. For further details see the NMBA’s A nurse’s guide to professional boundaries (2010).