American Nurses Association (ANA) Scope and Standards of Professional Nurse Practice

The scope of practice describes the services that a qualified health professional is deemed competent to perform and permitted to undertake – in keeping with the terms of their professional license.

The Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice describe the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how” of nursing practice:

  • Who: Registered Nurses (RN) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) comprise the “who” constituency and have been educated, titled, and maintain active licensure to practice nursing.
  • What: Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities; prevention of illness and injury; facilitation of healing; alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response; and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.
  • Where: Wherever there is a patient in need of care.
  • When: Whenever there is a need for nursing knowledge, compassion, and expertise.
  • Why: The profession exists to achieve the most positive patient outcomes in keeping with nursing’s social contract and obligation to society.


© 2021, Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 4th Edition. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.