Nurse Practice Acts

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Nursing has come a long way since the 1800’s. We have watched as nursing has grown from a profession where only on the job training was necessary and at one point in time was viewed as a disgraceful job and was used as a type of punishment into a respectful profession where a proper education along with proper training and testing are a must.

HISTORY OF NURSING LICENSURE In the late 1800’s when nursing schools began to evolve the schools the schools didn’t offer much formal instruction they basically focused on apprenticeships. Efforts began to regulate nursing between 1880 and 1910and were politically difficult. During this time period the National League of Nursing and the American Nurse Association began encouraging formal accreditation for nursing education programs and for state regulations for nursing. As a result Physicians became the first to receive widespread state regulations. By the year of 1895 all states defined medical practice and passed medical practice acts. The first practice acts defined medicine to include all aspects of patient care, it lacked an actual definition of nursing. The ANA offered a definition of nursing and incorporated the definition into the nurse practice acts in 1955. The national council for the state boards of nursing defines nursing as a profession focused on the care of individuals, families, and populations to attain, maintain, or recover to optimal health and quality of life from conception to death.

REGULATIONS COVERED BY THE NURSE PRACTICE ACTS The most definitive source for regulating nurse practice is considered to be the nurse practice act. The nurse practice acts define the scope of practice for healthcare individuals, requirements to enter into the medical field as a healthcare professional, along with definitions, and standards of nursing practice in each state. States may also

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