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Importance Of Regulation In Nursing Profession

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Discuss about the Importance Of Regulation In Nursing Profession.



The nursing profession according to the Gallup poll for ethics and honesty as at December 19th2016, was ranked for its fifteenth times in a row as the most trusted profession in the word (Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council 2007). For the profession to have achieved such a milestone in its practices then we can deduce from the results of the poll that, the profession has acted within the set standards, guidelines and regulations (Currey, Considine, &Khaw, 2011, p. 2275). Efficiency and effectiveness in the quality of service delivery can only be achieved when the individuals or organization work according to some set standards which then act as the threshold of establishing its performance goals and objectives. Nurses are mandated with the responsibility of protecting and optimization of health services, preventing and alleviating suffering among populations as well as advocating for care -for individuals, families, communities and the population (Johnstone 2016, p. 35). To achieve this, there must be some professional standards and guidelines set by a professional governing body or a regulatory authority. This essay will focus on understanding the professional body that regulates nursing profession and guidelines, the importance of regulation and why the regulation is necessary to the nature of nursing work in Australia.



The nursing profession, standards of practice, the professional code of ethics and conduct and the professional boundaries in Australia are regulated by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC). The council was established in 1992 with a purpose of designing an approach, nationally accepted to regulate both nursing and midwifery health practices (Scanlon 2012, p. 650). The council works also in conjunction with the state regulatory authority of Australia and other authorities such as the Nursing and Midwifery regulatory authority (NMRAs). On 1st July 2010, the nursing profession began also to be regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), a body under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA). It was previously governed by the state and territorial nursing regulatory authorities but on November 2nd, 2010 the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council became the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (Driscoll 2012, P. 144). These bodies have all been regulating the competency standards which since creation, the standards have passed through a series of periodic revisions and reviews with the aim of maintaining the competency standards contemporary and relevant in accordance with the legislative requirements.

The understanding of the competency standards of practice, the professional code of ethics and the professional boundaries regulating the healthcare providers in Australia will help us understand the importance of regulation in the nursing profession (Harris 2017, P. 26). The nursing and midwifery board of Australia has set competency standards and regulations in relation to different aspects of the nursing profession. Firstly, for the registered nurses, the registration requirements are mandatory for the nurses. A bachelor nursing degree is required or a post graduate diploma. These requirements ensure professional indemnity, the continuation of professional development, criminal history check and the regency of the practice. These act as regulations help in educating overseas who may be seeking to launch their nursing professional careers and work in Australia. The competency standards are also used by universities when developing nursing curricula, assessing students and evaluate graduate performance. They also help in making decisions regarding the professional conduct of the health care providers.


The board has also set competency standards in relation to the professional practice of the nursing practitioners for registered nurses and the enrolled nurses in their publications of 1st June 2016, and 1st January 2016 respectively. The standards here relate to assessing the recipients of health care using diagnostic capability. The standards require nurses to conduct a comprehensive, relevant and a holistic health care assessment, they are also required to apply diagnostic and inductive reasoning when formulating their diagnoses. The standards also require the nurses to administer a planned care and engage others by translating and integrating evidence in planning the patient's care. They are also required to support others in order to enable their active participation in providing care.  Nurses should put into consideration the quality use of medicines in planning for careand especially patients who need therapeutic interventions. And lastly, the nurses are required to refer and consult before making any care decisions in order to obtain optimal outcomes for the person receiving care. The importance of these regulations is to ensure that quality health care is provided to the recipients of health and that the well-being of the patients is given the first priority.

Secondly, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), has also set standards governing the professional boundaries of the healthcare practitioners and providers. In their publications of February 2010 and which took effect on 13th June 2013, nurses are required by these standards to maintain both their professional relationships as well as helping their colleagues and the people under their care in maintaining their boundaries.  Boundaries, in this case, refer to the limits which protect the interaction or space between the nurses or health practitioners, power, and their client’s vulnerability by guarding professional, therapeutic and personal relationships. The boundaries may be in form of boundary crossings, boundary violations which at times involves excessive disclosure of patient’s information, secrecy or even a reversal of roles and sexual misconducts in course of the practice. Research has provided that these violations can cause distress among the recipients of health care. The regulations by the nursing board, therefore, are important as they ensure professional behavior is maintained when carrying out health care provisions. They also provide a guideline for law enforcement or for legal actions against the individual found guilty of the behaviors. They control the relationships between the professionals and recipients of health care and promote healthy relationships as well as providing an enabling environment for administering health care.


Lastly, the board has also provided regulations to the code of professional conduct in its publication of August 2008 and which took effect in May 2013. The regulation requires that nurses should conduct their practices in accordance with the state regulations and above all the standards of their profession and the global health systems. These standards relate to the safety and quality of healthcare been provided and making known any unethical or unlawful practices to the appropriate authority or persons (Kangasniemi, Pakkanen, &Korhonen 2017, P. 1744). The standards also ensure that health care is provided in a competent and safe manner by ensuring that only activities within the scope of the nursing profession are carried out. Information relating to nurse care and healthcare products should be provided in an impartial, honest and accurate way possible. Trust and privileges inherent in relationships between nurses and the people receiving care have also been entrusted to the nurses to promote and preserve (Currey, Considine, &Khaw 2017, 178). And lastly, the nurses are required to build and maintain the trust and confidence of the community in the nursing profession. These regulations are thus important as they promote the quality of health services provide, build an understanding between the management and the health care providers, boost the trust and confidence of the community with the nurses and generally promote the well-being of the population. Without such regulation then there would be a lot of problems related to lack of quality and effective health care provision not only to the people receiving the health care.


The problems related to lack of regulations to the nursing profession and practices brings us to the question of why it is necessary to regulate nursing practices in relation to the nature of their work. The nurses and healthcare recipients are exposed to a number of risks associated with the hospital environments. These environments pose biological, physical, chemical and psychological risks to the people around the environments according to (Janete Porto may, 2016). Therefore, the regulation ensures and promotes the safety of both the nurses and the people receiving health care. According to Baines and Sykes (2014) denotes that regulations govern the measures and compensation in case any of the staff gets an accident during the course of his or her work, which boosts the nurse’s confidence and morale during their health practice.

The regulations serve also as tools for assessing the performance of the health care practitioners and the nurses. Without the regulations, it would be difficult to measure the quality of health care been administered in healthcare centers (Holder &Schenthal 2017, P. 25). Acting upon the established standards and regulations can be concluded from the Gallup poll as one of the factors which contributed to the findings and ranking of the nursing profession as the most trusted profession for its fifteenth time.

The nursing profession also poses a risk of differences in belief systems and practices which may hinder the provision of health care. It is upon these regulations that appropriate measures are taken which help in decision making and reduce conflict and misunderstanding among the health professionals, the individuals, and the community. Regulations such as those of professional boundaries are necessary for establishing the professional and therapeutic relationships.


Research from the findings above, therefore, shows nursing profession as a very important and critical; regulation of the nursing practices provides a platform for practicing quality healthcare, performance measure and promotion of nursing profession. The regulation also helps in maintaining the standards of working among the practitioners and health care providers. The regulatory authorities and the state should ensure the standards and regulations are adhered to for effective service delivery in the nursing profession. The nurse practitioners and all health care providers should maintain the standards as they guide their behavior and conduct both at work and outside their work environment. This will boost the confidence and trust of the community and the society at large towards the nursing profession.



Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council 2007, National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse, (ANMC),Canberra. Available at: Accessed:19 March 2008.

Baines, C, & Sykes, P 2014, 'Professional capability within the Australian hyperbaric nursing workforce', Australian Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 32, 2, pp. 6-13, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2017.

Currey, J, Considine, J, &Khaw, D 2011, 'Clinical nurse research consultant: a clinical and academic role to advance practice and the discipline of nursing', Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 67, 10, pp. 2275-2283, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2017.

Driscoll, K. (2012), 'National nursing registration in Australia: A way forward for nurse practitioner endorsement', Journal Of The American Academy Of Nurse Practitioners, 24, 3, pp. 143-148, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2017.

Harris, L 2017, 'Professional boundaries and competence', Practice Nurse, 33, 7, pp. 26-30, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2017.


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