Radical Changes Proposed for Nursing Profession, from Licensing to Scope of Practice

Planning the development of a strategic plan to restructure nursing education

During 2000 and 2001, Sigma Theta Tau International conducted a series of meetings for development of a consensus document among a number of nursing organizations concerning the needed restructuring of U.S. nursing practice and education.

This project built on preliminary discussions among many of those organizations regarding:

  • Nursing's difficulty in attracting young people.
  • Perceived inadequacies in nursing practice, education and credentialing.

Sigma Theta Tau International is a nursing research and leadership organization that focuses on the learning and professional development of nurses.

Key Results

  • The project resulted in a 13-page series of ideas entitled Vision 2020 for Nursing: A Strategic Work Plan to Transform US Nursing Practice and Education. The report envisions nursing practice, education and credentialing that:
    • Distinguish among specific sets of nursing education or training and competencies.
    • Ensure the development of nursing as a career that will attract new entrants.

    To accomplish those goals, according to the report, nursing education, practice and licensing should be categorized into four different scopes of practice that reflect nurses' training and education.
    • Scope A nurses would be unlicensed care providers.
    • Scopes B and C would have separate and distinct licensure—scope B requiring a post-licensure internship and scope C a residency.
    • Graduate education would be required for practice in scope D, and individuals would move from scope C to scope D via such graduate education.