Scope of practice decision making: findings from a national survey of Irish nurses and midwives

Fealy, Gerard, Casey, Mary, Rohde, Daniela, Brady, Anne-Marie, Hegarty, Josephine, Kennedy, Catriona, McNamara, Martin, O’Reilly, Pauline and Prizeman, Geraldine (2015) Scope of practice decision making: findings from a national survey of Irish nurses and midwives. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24 19-20: 2871-2880. doi:10.1111/jocn.12896

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Author Fealy, Gerard
Casey, Mary
Rohde, Daniela
Brady, Anne-Marie
Hegarty, Josephine
Kennedy, Catriona
McNamara, Martin
O’Reilly, Pauline
Prizeman, Geraldine
Title Scope of practice decision making: findings from a national survey of Irish nurses and midwives
Journal name Journal of Clinical Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-1067
Publication date 2015-10
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/jocn.12896
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 24
Issue 19-20
Start page 2871
End page 2880
Total pages 10
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Aims and objectives
The aim was to examine and describe aspects of the current scope of practice among nurses and midwives in Ireland. The objective was to describe practitioners' decision making associated with the scope of practice.

Regulatory frameworks on the scope of practice describe the roles and activities an individual registrant is permitted to undertake in the course of professional practice. Research into the scope of practice has examined practitioners' perspectives on particular frameworks or their experiences of practice expansion, and suggests that frameworks are helpful in guiding practitioners; however, local circumstances and practitioner competence often determine scope of practice.

A national postal survey of registered nurses and midwives was conducted to elicit self-reports of current scope of practice.

A stratified random sample of 2354 registered nurses and midwives in Ireland were surveyed using the Scope-Q, a 64-item self-report questionnaire.

While over half of the respondents consulted others when making scope of practice decisions, the majority relied on their own professional judgement, acted only when they believed that they were competent to act, and recognised the limitations of their own competence. Although a small number of statistically significant associations were observed between respondents' age and self-reported scope of practice, respondents' current scope of practice was independent of either grade or gender.

When making a decision about scope of practice, practitioners may consult other resources, including published frameworks, professional colleagues and line managers; however, most particularly, older, more experienced practitioners, rely on their own professional judgement when making scope of practice decisions.

Relevance to clinical practice
While published scope of practice frameworks guide practitioners on how they may act in circumstances of uncertainty, regulatory authorities should continue to emphasise individual accountability and self-reliance in everyday decision making, so that practitioners' actions are grounded in local circumstances and self-assessed practitioner competence.
Keyword Decision making
Scope of practice
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Fri, 25 Sep 2015, 13:18:30 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work