Nursing Practice

​​​Scope of Practice

A Nurse’s Responsibility and Accountability

Each nurse is individually responsible and accountable for their individual's acts based upon the nurse's education and experience. Each nurse must exercise professional and prudent judgment in determining whether the performance of a given act is within the scope of practice for which the nurse is both licensed and clinically competent to perform. See KRS 314.021

Practice Authority and the Professional Scope and Standards of Practice

Practice​ authority (legal scope of practice) is granted by the Kentucky General Assembly, and is defined by statutes and regulations governing the Board of Nursing

The Board of Nursing

  • The Board is responsible for regulation of nursing practice.

The Board’s Mission is to protect the public from unsafe nursing practice.

Professional Organizations

  • Protect, define the nature of, and advance scope of practice.
  • The Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice describe the following:
    • Who: Licensees who have been educated, titled, and maintain active licensure to practice nursing.
    • What: Protection, promotion, and optimization of health; prevention of illness and injury; facilitation of healing; alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment; and advocacy.
    • Where: All patient healthcare settings.
    • 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.
  • American Nurses Association (ANA)
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)

Determining Scope of Practice

In addition to Kentucky Nursing Laws, the KBN issues Advisory Opinion Statements (AOSs) as guidelines to assist nurses in the safe practice of nursing.

When the performance of a specific act is not definitively addressed in the Kentucky Nursing Laws or in an advisory opinion of the Board, the nurse must exercise professional judgment in determining whether the performance of the act is within the scope of practice for which the nurse is licensed.

Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

The Kentucky Board of Nursing RN-LPN Scope of Practice Comparison Chart provides a snapshot comparison on the role of the RN and the LPN in components of nursing practice with web links to references.

You can find AOS #41 – RN/LPN Scope of Practice Determination Guidelines​ including the KBN Decision-Making Model for Determining Scope of Practice for RNs-/LPNs ​and AOS #27 Components of LPN Practice in the Document Library.

Additional information and an index of current KBN Advisory Opinion Statements is available at​.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

On the APRN Practice page, you will learn about the four APRN roles and the scope and standards of practice of the population foci as recognized by the KBN.

In the Document Library, you can find the APRN Scope of Practice Decision Making Model​, which was developed to assist nurses in determining whether a selected function is within a nurse’s scope of practice.

Document Library

All KBN documents and forms can now be found in our Document Library.

Find Forms