In New York State, our rights and responsibilities as nurses are defined by the Nurse Practice Act (State Education Law, Article 139):
The practice of the profession of nursing as a registered professional nurse is defined as diagnosing and treating human responses to actual or potential health problems through such services as casefinding, health teaching, health counseling, and provision of care supportive to or restorative of life and well-being, and executing medical regimens prescribed by a licensed physician, dentist or other licensed health care provider legally authorized under this title and in accordance with the commissioner's regulations.”
Scope of Practice laws authorize RNs to function independently when providing various aspects of medical care.
A nurse is responsible for practicing within the scope of our abilities: nurses are not legally allowed to provide nursing services that they are not personally competent to perform, even if New York law generally allows a nurse to provide the service. If a nurse practices outside the personal scope of competence or outside of what is allowed by New York law, they could be charged with professional misconduct.
Our practice is at risk from de-skilling and short staffing. Section 6902 of the New York State Education Law lays out the tasks and responsibilities that an LPN can perform.