Why You Need a Nurse Instead of a Caregiver: The Nurse Practice Act!

Did you know that based on a 2016 report, 61% of U.S. citizens and residents above 55 are thinking of retiring in their home rather than agreeing to live in a nursing home or elderly facility? There are two main reasons for this decision.

  • They prefer to live near family, and in familiar surroundings.
  • They don’t want to lose their independence.

For families and individuals with medical conditions planning for their retirement years at home there are two choices: hire a caregiver or hire an RN to come in to check up on them.

A nurse is probably the smarter choice because they are duty-bound by the Nurse Practice Act.

The Nurse Practice Act

This act is a law enacted by every state designed to protect public health and safety from poor nursing skills and practices. It falls under the Health and Safety Code and states that no person can perform a nursing function other than an RN or allow unlicensed individuals from doing the same even under the direct supervision of an RN. Nursing functions require extensive education, training, and technical skills not to mention the need to pass the nursing board exam.

Some of the nursing functions include:

  • Performance of intravenous and venipuncture therapy or taking of blood samples or injecting other fluids through the veins
  • Administration of medicine
  • Tube Feedings
  • Intramuscular, intravenous or subcutaneous injections
  • Invasive procedures like inserting catheters, suction, or tubes
  • Patient assessment
  • Talking and educating relatives about patient’s condition
  • Moderate lab tests

Nurses are also more familiar with medicines, their use, and administration compared to caregivers whose primary task is to provide care and comfort. In other words, caregivers can be assigned to bathe, feed, and maintain proper hygiene aside from making sure the patients takes all his medicine on time. Caregivers can also get vital signs and keep a daily record of the family and doctor.

Under the Nurse Practice Act, the risk of harm and danger for the patient is reduced because she is trained to work with almost all kinds of medical situations, especially emergencies. Since the Nurse Practice Act is a law, there are similar penalties and fines for any nurse that goes against the act.