The Texas Nurse Practice Act was first signed into law by the Texas Legislature on March 28, 1909. Since its inaugural enactment over one hundred years ago, The Texas Board of Nursing has continued to govern the nursing profession by enforcing the regulations of the Act. The Texas Nurse Practice Act nevertheless protects the interest of the nursing profession and promotes safety for patients and public welfare. Becoming a Registered Nurse
Nursing, as cited by the Nurse Practice act, is defined as “professional or vocational nursing.” The scope of professional nursing practice includes a significant amount of specialized training and judgment in which one can utilize the education learned in nursing school. This includes, but is not limited to, assessment of persons in poor health, health maintenance, and administration of drugs or other medicines. Vocational nursing, on the other hand, is a limited scope of the nursing practice, which under direct guidance, may assist with assessments of health status, assist with patient teachings, and participate in the evaluation of an individual’s needs. Currently there are two licensures that can be obtained and issued by the Texas Board of Nursing; Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). Unless licensed in the State of Texas, a person “may not practice or offer to practice” in the state, professional or vocational nursing, or use the abbreviations “RN” or “LVN” along with any name. Obtaining licensure in the State of Texas, according to the Act, begins with the completion of a satisfactory criminal history record in which fingerprinting is submitted to the Board. Failure to satisfy the criminal history requirements may result in a denial of licensure. After the applicant’s criminal record has been cleared by the Board of Nursing, submitting a sworn licensing application would be the next step in the licensing process. The applicant must be able to demonstrate certain qualifications provided by the Act, including evidence of professionalism, completion of an approved nursing program, and having passed examination. Examination in the State of Texas is regulated by the Texas Board of Nursing, and upon successful completion of the examination, the Board shall issue the applicant a license to practice professional or vocational nursing. Other classifications of licensure include those that are issued temporarily while the applicant awaits results of examination. Temporary licensure provides the nursing applicant with the ability to practice professionally under specific stipulations and mandatory supervision from a registered nurse. Another classification includes temporary licensure by endorsement, which allows nurses from other states to temporarily practice professionally in the State of Texas in lieu of evidence provided to the Board verifying credentials. Registered Nurse Duties and Responsibilities
According to The Texas Nurse Practice Act, registered nurses are obligated to protect the public welfare by providing safe, compassionate, and complete nursing care to patients and their families. Registered nurses are expected to uphold specialized skill, safely provide care, and act as an advocate for the patient by complying with the Texas Nurse Practice Act. Under Subchapter I, Sec. 301.401 “Reporting Violations and Patient Care Concerns” defines the nurse’s responsibility to ethically and in good faith, report negligent and suspicious behavior to the Texas Board of Nursing. Violations of the Act which require reporting include, but are not limited to, conduct of a nurse that gives a reasonable suspicion to believe that behaviors are induced by chemical dependency and intentional or negligent actions of a nurse that contribute to the death of a patient. These prohibitory actions are subject to review by a peer committee, which will report recommendations to the Board on disciplinary actions, if any, against the nurse. Under Subchapter I, Sec. 301.402 of the Act, the nurse reporting the violation is protected from suspension, termination, or any other retaliatory act that may occur as a result of the disclosure. Protecting Nurses
The Texas Nurse Practice Act also protects nurses from “refusal to engage in certain conduct.” Under Subchapter H, Sec. 301.352 of the Act, a nurse may refuse to engage in certain conduct if notification is given at the time of refusal that the conduct “constitutes grounds for reporting.” However, under Chapter 303, Sec. 005, the nurse is protected from engaging in reportable misconduct that is believed to “violate a nurses duty to a patient”, pending a filed request for determination by a peer review committee. The nurse shall “not be disciplined or discriminated against for making the request.” Conclusion
The Texas Nurse Practice Act is a highly important and detailed record of authority that provides many answers to questions which we will perpetually reference as part of our nursing career. Becoming part of the nursing profession is something to be extremely proud of, and upholding the standards of the Texas Nurse Practice Act is essential to our success. Works Cited
Nursing Practice Act, Nursing Peer Review Act, & Nurse Licensure Compact. TEXAS BOARD OF NURSING, Sept. 2013. Web. .