One of the more interesting things about nursing school was learning about “scope of practice.” It’s very important for nurses to know where their nursing practice starts and stops. For example, on the lower end of your practice: What nursing interventions are acceptable to delegate to your assistive personnel (nurse aides, orderlies, etc.)? If they aren’t allowed to give meds–you mustn’t ask them to do it.

On the upper limit of your practice, you have to know where nursing stops and doctoring begins. I’m sure our professors were mildly amused, but also sometimes frustrated, as they pounded into our brains that nurses don’t diagnose medical conditions. No matter how obvious something seems to you, it’s the doctor’s job to diagnose the problem (and prescribe, etc.).

Knowing our place, our “scope of practice”–knowing where our knowledge, our ability, our responsibility starts and stops–can be a tremendous relief. Not a shirking of our duty–but having our duties better defined so we don’t feel overly burdened by other people’s jobs–or God’s job.