RN Role Clarity

Role clarity is the application of the scope of practice to the delivery of nursing care in the workplace.

While a Registered Nurse’s scope of practice is clearly defined in a number of documents (provincial legislation, association bylaws, standards & competency documents and guidelines), these documents are necessary but not sufficient when it comes to role clarity, as they must be applied in specific workplace contexts.

Registered Nurses work in highly complex and evolving healthcare environments where new technology and interventions are constantly emerging. They also work in employment settings where their employer, other healthcare professionals, their patients and the environment all impact their practice. What does scope of practice look like when all of these external factors are taken into consideration? This is where role clarity is essential.

Role clarity is the application of the RN scope of practice to the delivery of nursing care in the workplace. It is vital in workplaces with interdisciplinary collaboration. Through role clarity, an RN can inform and collaborate with their employer and colleagues to define and finalize job roles and responsibilities for their workplace.

In this respect, role clarity is not only for all RNs in all domains (point of care, education, policy & administration, research), but everyone else including employers, other healthcare providers, and patients.  While RNs are accountable for ensuring that the application of their practice is safe and effective for patient care, all parties play a role in safe, trusted and collaborative nursing care.

The SRNA is proud to provide its members with a new tool to help them understand and ensure role clarity. This tool is the recently approved and historic Collaborative Decision making Framework. This tool provides nurses, employers and other healthcare professionals with a way to approach collaborative decision-making and staffing decisions.

Years in the making, this document was developed in partnership by the SRNA, the Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (SALPN), and the Registered Psychiatric Nursing Association of Saskatchewan (RPNAS). Association representatives worked together to distill evidence for collaborative decision making in nursing care. After significant consultation with their membership, all three regulatory bodies approved this groundbreaking tool in 2017 for use by all nurses in Saskatchewan. The principals in the document are evidence-based and endorsed by all three associations.

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