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RN Frequently Asked Questions

​A:  No.  The Oregon license covers only the provision of care to clients in Oregon.

The jurisdiction over the nursing practice provided to residents of Oregon is held by the Oregon State Board of Nursing.  Other states have a similar mandate to protect their citizens, so they have authority over how nursing practice is carried out for those within their borders.

To provide nursing care (including case management) to clients across the United States, the Oregon-licensed nurse would need to hold RN licenses that cover practice for all states where clients are located. 
​A:  Yes.

No one may offer to provide nursing services or represent themselves as providing nursing care to residents of Oregon unless they have an Oregon nursing license.  The Oregon State Board of Nursing holds jurisdiction over nursing practice that is provided to residents of Oregon.  A limited number of exceptions to this requirement are found in Oregon law, such as for nurses on a disaster team, nurses on a transport team, school nurses here with student groups, and nurses hired to fill an appropriately documented shortage in limited types of units in hospitals and nursing facilities.
​A:  Yes. However, the Board does not provide lists of allowed assignments or tasks that should be accepted or declined.  In all cases, the RN may accept only those assignments for which they have the knowledge, skills, and documented competency to perform safely.

Each individual nurse must determine how to proceed within their own practice setting.  The Board has developed a useful tool for this purpose.  Utilize the Scope of Practice Decision-Making Guideline to consider a specific practice situation.

The Nurse Practice Act does not prohibit the RN from any specific procedures.  Employers may have their own policies on types of procedures that are allowed or prohibited and the RN would need to be aware of these policies as part of using the Scope of Practice Decision-Making Guideline.  Competency may be gained through formal educational programs, continuing education, or employer-provided training.

Please note:  Licensees sometimes pause on the first question in the Scope of Practice Guideline (Is the role, intervention or activity prohibited by the Nurse Practice Act and Rules/Regulations or any other applicable laws, rules/regulations or accreditation standards?).  The NPA is silent on specific procedures associated with client care, but other regulatory Boards may have jurisdiction over some procedures or activities.  Procedures/activities associated with radiology, esthetic procedures, acupuncture, control of medications, etc. may be limited due to the laws/rules of the related regulatory boards.

Use these links to review how the Board has used the Scope of Practice Decision-Making Guideline to answer some common questions:
​A:  Only if the RN holds a LPN license, a CNA certificate, or a CMA certificate issued by the Board.  Hours worked in another role would not count toward practice hours for RN license renewal.

The RN seeking employment as a LPN, CNA, or CMA must hold the appropriate license/certificate from the Board.  This is different than a situation where the RN is assigned and accepts the assignment to complete duties typically assigned to a LPN, CNA, or CMA for a shift, as these duties fall within the RN scope of practice.  The RN accepting such an assignment remains accountable for their actions and decisions, and cannot refer to themselves as a “LPN," “CNA," or “CMA."  The RN would be responsible to disclose their role for that shift to the client care team.

The RN with a current license may apply for either a CNA or CMA through the Board.  The RN may seek a license as an LPN only if a program specific to training the LPN has been completed.  If accepting a CNA/CMA position with the appropriate Board-issued certificate in place, the RN would need to be clear with the employer that the work is limited to the authorized duties for CNAs/CMAs and the name badge would need to say “CNA" or “CMA."
A:  No.  A nurse may not independently prescribe or order medications.

When a prescription has expired or all refills on an existing prescription have been dispensed, there is no longer an active prescription in place.  A new prescription must be generated by a person who is authorized by the State of Oregon to prescribe.  Prescribing is beyond the scope of practice for the RN and the LPN.
​A:  It depends.

A medical assistant is an unlicensed/unregulated assistive person (UAP).  A UAP role does not require licensure or certification by the State of Oregon.  Once the RN has determined that the UAP is authorized to perform an activity by their shared employer, the RN may assign the activity to the UAP, if appropriate, based on a particular client situation.

See this Interpretive Statement on assigning and delegating for further explanation.
​A:  No.

The duties that may be carried out by the CNA1 and the CNA2 are finite and listed in Oregon Administrative Rule.  The RN may not expand the lists based on a perception that an individual CNA is capable of being trained to do more.

Oregon Administrative Rule includes the lists of authorized duties.
​A: While the public most often equates the practice of nursing with hands-on care interventions provided to an individual patient, the Board recognizes that the practice of nursing occurs in a variety of roles.  These roles include the development and implementation of health care policy; nursing administration; nursing case management; nursing research; nursing informatics; and, consultation in the practice of nursing. 

The common denominator across all roles is the practice of nursing.  The Nurse Practice Act (NPA) defines the practice of nursing as diagnosing and treating human responses to actual or potential health problems.  This definition applies regardless of the characteristics of the RN's client—who may be an individual, a family, an organization, or a population.  The RN's diagnosis and treatment of human responses experienced by the client in relation to their actual or potential health problems occurs through the RN's application of nursing process with the client.  The components of the nursing process are:
  • assessment, identification of client needs or risks,
  • identification of expected outcomes and plan development,
  • implementation of the plan, and
  • evaluation of the plan for continuation or revision. 
It is the RN's application of nursing knowledge through engagement of the nursing process with a client (i.e., an individual, a family, an organization, or a population) that makes one's role the practice of nursing.

Example: An organization is planning on implementing a new computer charting system.  The Informatics Nurse, who is an RN, assesses the environment, identifies issues within the environment that would both enhance and be a barrier to implementation, determines what outcomes are expected from the implementation of the new charting system, develops a plan for implementation, executes the plan, reviews the plan to determine if outcomes have been met, and either changes or modifies the plan if outcomes have not been met.  The practice of the RN in informatics as described above reflects the practice of nursing.

See the Board's interpretive statement Practice Requirements for the Licensed Practice Nurse, Registered Nurse & Advanced Practice Registered Nurse for more information.
​A:  There is no list.  Nursing judgment must be applied in all situations where the delegation process is used in community-based care.  The RN may deem it safe to delegate a procedure for one client, and may deem it unsafe for the same staff member to carry out the same procedure on another client.

The Board has developed an Interpretive Statement to assist the nurse in understanding the differences between making an assignment to a care team member and using the delegation process, as defined by the Nurse Practice Act.  All RNs involved in community-based care need to review the materials provided by the Board to understand this unique area of practice.
​A:  It depends.

Facility policy should be consulted for this question.  If no policy exists, the RN must consider the appropriateness of sharing a lab value with a client.  If this is a routine lab result for on-going monitoring of a known condition, it may be appropriate to share with the client directly.  If the lab test was completed for purposes of ruling out or making a particular diagnosis, the RN may be put in a position of having to rule out or confirm a diagnosis when sharing a lab value with a client.  This would be beyond the scope of practice for the RN.  The ordering provider would need to review the lab results in this case and make a determination of how to communicate with the client, which may include instructing the RN to share the results with the client.
​A:  Both paid and volunteer hours where the individual functioned in an RN role may be counted.

For hours to be counted toward the practice hour requirement for license renewal, the RN must have been engaged in the practice of nursing.  The role may be in a formal setting or in an informal setting, such as when volunteering.  It may be helpful to consider if an RN wasn't available for the role, would it be filled by someone who isn't licensed?  If so, the role might not be nursing practice.  For example, if an RN is handing out water as a volunteer at a marathon race, this is not the practice of nursing.  If the RN is volunteering at the race to assess clients and determine appropriate actions to take and evaluating if the actions are effective, this is the practice of nursing.

The Board has developed an Interpretive Statement to assist the nurse in understanding the practice hour requirement.  Review this for more information and common questions.
​A:  Yes.  All licensed nurses are considered to have the needed knowledge to determine the absence of respirations and pulse.

Facility policies may require that a certain level of practitioner determine death or may require more than one licensed person confirm the death.  The nurse is expected to follow any applicable state laws related to reporting deaths as may be appropriate to a particular care setting.
​A:  For on-going license renewals, no CE is currently required by the Board for the RN.  See more below on the one-time pain management CE requirement for the first renewal.

Please note that Oregon laws or rules outside the NPA may set requirements for all healthcare licensees to complete CE.  In addition, those who work in certain settings (e.g. mental health care) may have unique requirements for CE.  Licensees are expected to be aware of all applicable requirements.

All healthcare licensees in Oregon must complete a one-time requirement for seven hours of CE on pain management to be able to complete their first renewal.  One of these hours must be the on-line module available through the website for the Oregon Pain Management Commission.

More information on the pain management CE requirement is found on the Board website.
​A:  No, except for some unique circumstances.

The Board of Nursing has an Interpretive Statement about patient abandonment that helps licensees understand what may be considered patient abandonment.

In a setting where a nurse may be providing care in a client's home and no other care provider is available to relieve the nurse, it could be considered patient abandonment to leave the client alone.  A nurse working as the sole provider of care in a client's home is advised to fully understand the options open to them, if a relieving nurse is not available.
​A:  Not as a requirement for licensure.

Licensed nurse competencies in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and/or first aid are typically a requirement of practice setting policies, rules governing a setting/service, and/or a specific position description within an organization.  Completion of these trainings is not required for licensure or license renewal.
​A:  Yes.  The Board has developed an interpretive statement to assist the nurse with this question.
A:  A key scope of practice difference is that the RN has an independent nursing practice and the LPN has a dependent nursing practice.  For example, the RN creates the comprehensive plan of care while the LPN contributes to the plan.  The RN completes both comprehensive and focused assessments while the LPN completes focused assessments.

These differing scope of practice authorities are grounded in the type of nursing education program completed by the licensee and by the Nurse Practice Act (NPA).

At the RN level of licensure, the NPA makes no requirement for clinical direction or supervision of practice.  Division 45 of the NPA grants the RN the authority to conduct an independent nursing assessment, develop a plan of care, and evaluate outcomes related to the plan.  While a practice setting may enact supervision requirements related to the RN's role within the setting, the RN remains independent in their nursing practice.

At the LPN level of licensure, the practice act does include requirements for clinical direction and supervision of practice. Division 45 of the NPA specifies that LPN practice may only occur under the clinical direction of a RN, or, under the clinical direction of a licensed independent practitioner (LIP) such as a physician or dentist. 

Clinical direction of LPN practice means the communication from the RN to the LPN for the implementation of the RN's established plan of care or the communication from the LIP to the LPN for the implementation of the LIP's treatment plan. Any practice by an LPN that occurs outside of an established plan of care is not occurring within the scope of practice boundaries of LPN licensure.

Foundational to the LPN's implementation of the established plan of care is the LPN's completion of a nursing assessment. At the LPN level of licensure level this is a focused assessment.  Focused assessment means recognizing the priority condition at the time of the intervention within the parameters of the established plan of care.

Additional resources:
  • OSBN Sentinel - November 2017, Oregon's NPA: The foundation for scope of practice differences in LPN and RN practice. 
  • OSBN Sentinel – November 2018, Focused assessment and the licensed practical nurse.​​
​A:  The practice of nursing is often thought of only as direct, physical care provided to clients.  But, the Board recognizes that nurses may function in a variety of roles where there is a clear application of nursing knowledge.  Key questions the nurse must ask when determining whether a role is the practice of nursing are included in the Interpretive Statement on Practice Hours.  A review of these questions will assist any nurse with analysis of a particular role and its responsibilities.

A position doesn't become “nursing practice" simply because the person in the role is a licensee.  For example, the nurse might accept a position as a Coordinator of Medical Staff Credentialing.  While knowledge of healthcare or a healthcare system may be an advantage in this role, it would not be the practice of nursing.  A position that can be filled by anyone with a healthcare background or certain level of healthcare degree is likely not the practice of nursing, even if a nursing background may be helpful in the role.

A nursing manager applies nursing knowledge to various aspects of the role such as setting policies, which then impact the nurse who is providing direct care to clients.  A nurse reviewing documentation systems would draw on their knowledge of how client care is best reflected in the medical record to promote continuity of care.  This would differ from how an individual trained only in computer systems might view documentation software development.  When it is time for license renewal, the nurse is responsible to be able to provide a clear explanation of how hours counted as nursing practice for purposes of license renewal do reflect the practice of nursing.
If you cannot find the information you need at one of the links above, access the OSBN interactive scope-of-practice decision guide (PDF version), the OSBN interpretive practice statements, or the Nurse Practice Act

The Board does not answer any practice questions by phone or questions sent to the general OSBN e-mailbox.  You may submit a written practice question to Board Staff.  However, if your question is answered in the FAQs or in a practice statement, you will be directed back to the website.  Please allow up to four weeks for a response to your inquiry.

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