Colorado Board of Nursing Review – No Policy
Reviewed by Sedation Certification – March 9, 2023
State Sedation Policy – NO
Contact the Board of Nursing if you have any questions!
Scope of Practice for Registered Nurses (RNs)
In Colorado, the practice of professional nursing (including those listed on the advanced practice registry) includes the performance of both independent nursing functions and delegated medical functions. The Board of Nursing (BON) considers RNs to be independent practitioners.
Two things limit the independent scope of nursing practice:
1) Task/practice must be within the field of nursing, and
2) RN must possess the specialized knowledge, judgment and skill required to complete the job/task undertaken. There is no BON requirement for physician oversight of nurses during the course of independent nursing practice. However, individual facilities or physician practices may have policies requiring some level of physician involvement or oversight.
Dependent nursing function falls under delegated medical. CRS 12-38-103 (4) defines delegated medical function to include the RN implementation of a medical plan. “a written plan, verbal order, standing order, or protocol – whether patient specific or not, that authorizes specific or discretionary medical action, which may include but is not limited to the selection of medication.” The amount of physician oversight would be determined by the physician and nurse involved in this process.
The Board of Nursing has been working to empower Colorado nurses to determine their own scopes of practice. Using the following guidelines, a nurse may decide what is within scope, and to make certain the task or practice is documented in facility or institution policies and procedures.
Ask the following question: Is this task/practice within my scope of practice?
- Was the skill/task taught in your basic nursing program?
- If it was not included in your basic nursing education, have you since completed a comprehensive training program that included clinical experience?
- Has this task become so routine in the nursing literature and in nursing practice (e.g. sharp wound debridement), it can be reasonably and prudently assumed within scope?
- Is the skill/task in your hiring agency policy and procedure manual?
- Does carrying out the duty pass the “Reasonable and Prudent” standard for nursing?
If you can answer “yes” to all the above questions, the task is within your scope of practice.