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Capsule on practice.

The underlying assumption of this article is that while nursing care may sometimes be comprised of a series of routine tasks, health conditions, agency services, partners in care, and, most importantly, the individual needs of the patient demand that the registered nurse has the awareness and skill to utilise available resources for the benefit of the patient. In the new and changing workplace, one resource is made up of people, whether other RNs, LPNs or unregulated care providers (UCPs). As the condition of patients in hospital becomes more acute, the RN must be able to correctly identify and interpret signs and symptoms of deterioration--sometimes from information collected by others.

Knowledge of the abilities and limits of the provider partners goes beyond their individual skill set or knowledge base. Registered nurses must also be aware of legislative and agency limits on those providers' ability to care for patients. Rather than liberally or entirely assign or delegate care to those providers, the registered nurse must assess the appropriateness of such a choice depending on the condition and needs of the patient. The registered nurse is responsible for those choices as well as any direct care given by self.

While any other care provider is responsible and accountable for his or her actions toward a patient, the registered nurse remains responsible for monitoring the progress of care and to change the care plan or skill mix of providers as necessary to prevent harm and to achieve desired outcomes. (Supervision does not include direct observation except where, for instance, the RN is teaching someone a particular technique or task, or is a formal supervisor or manager.) The care delivery model (to be discussed in another article) affects how this is accomplished and how much direct contact with a particular patient the RN has, or under what conditions. Employers have an important role to play in assuring that the RN has the authority to plan and to deliver care with available resources, and to respond to changing patient conditions.

By the staff of the Practice and Policy Department
COPYRIGHT 2007 Nurses Association of New Brunswick
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:nursing care
Publication:Info Nursing
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 22, 2007
Previous Article:Adapting to the new workplace reality: maximizing the role of RNs within a collaborative nursing practice model.
Next Article:Getting started with continuing competence requirements in 2007.

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