Nursing practice has a rich history. For centuries, nurses have been working with people to help support their health and wellness. In the past several decades, nursing practice has evolved at a rapid rate. Technology, changing population demographics, the increasing prevalence of chronic illness, and the move to interprofessional collaborative practice models all impact the way nurses contribute to health care today.
While care remains a large part of the nursing profession, the education and expertise the nurse has is gaining greater respect and acknowledgement. People are becoming more aware of the nursing role and the nursing scope of practice.
Nursing scope is also expanding. Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses all have their own Scope of Practice defined in Provincial legislation. Over time the boundaries have been getting wider and more flexible.
When we look at Scope of Practice in the Winnipeg Health Region it's not about tasks that nurses are able to perform. It's about matching the basic educational preparation, competence and experience of the nurse with the needs of the patient. Nurses should work to their fullest potential and provide the best quality care.
Conversations are taking place with nursing colleges, unions, nursing leadership councils and regional health authorities across the country and right here in the Winnipeg Health Region. With changing roles, responsibilities and skills, we need to better understand scope of practice of all three groups of nurses so that we're able to make the best decision about which nurse should be assigned based on the needs of the individual.