NURS 6050 Professional Nursing and State-Level Regulations

NURS 6050 Professional Nursing and State-Level Regulations

Professional Nursing and State-Level Regulations

Nursing is a highly regulated profession to ensure patients get care that addresses their needs comprehensively. Despite the continued demand for nurses to acquire the highest education possible, their scope of practice is not universal. It differs across states as regulations dictate. However, the rules governing nursing practice are adjustable depending on patient care demands and nurse capacity and experience changes.

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Like many other states, the state board of nursing is responsible for nursing practice regulation in Massachusetts. Accordingly, the Massachusetts Board of Nursing is responsible for licensing nurses planning to work in the state (CGFNS International, 2023). The other defining element of nursing practice in Massachusetts is that it is not a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state. Nurses under the NLC only require one compact state nursing license to practice in other states that are part of the compact (Gaines, 2023). Since timely care requires nurses to be readily available, Massachusetts is a full practice authority state. According to Cuccovia et al. (2021), previous restrictions were removed during the pandemic and later maintained after it emerged that nurses in Massachusetts are competent to practice independently. The situation is different in Florida, which is a restricted practice state. Unlike Massachusetts, Florida state laws restrict nurses’ ability to engage in at least one element of the nursing practitioner practice (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2022). Florida is also under the NLC.

State-level regulations apply to nurses differently depending on the scope of practice. In Massachusetts, APRNs can evaluate, diagnose patients, and prescribe medications and controlled substances. Besides, they do not require career-long physician supervision or collaboration (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2022). This implies that nursing practitioners can practice within their full scope of education and experience as required in full practice authority states. Adherence to these regulations is critical for high patient outcomes. Accordingly, nurses should diagnose and treat patients comprehensively. They should also follow the appropriate guidelines when accepting or rejecting the assigned roles.


American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2022). State practice environment.

CGFNS International. (2023). Massachusetts licensure & registration info.

Cuccovia, B. A., Heelan-Fancher, L., & Aronowitz, T. (2021). A policy analysis of nurse practitioner scope of practice in Massachusetts. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners34(2), 410–417.

Gaines, K. (2023). Compacting nursing states list 2023.


Professional Nursing and State-Level Regulations

Boards of Nursing (BONs) exist in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. Similar entities may also exist for different regions. The mission of BONs is the protection of the public through the regulation of nursing practice. BONs put into practice state/region regulations for nurses that, among other things, lay out the requirements for licensure and define the scope of nursing practice in that state/region.

It can be a valuable exercise to compare regulations among various state/regional boards of nursing. Doing so can help share insights that could be useful should there be future changes in a state/region. In addition, nurses may find the need to be licensed in multiple states or regions.



Be sure to review the Learning Resources before completing this activity.
Click the weekly resources link to access the resources.


Learning Resources

Required Readings

  • Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
    • Chapter 4, “Government Response: Regulation” (pp. 57–84)
  • American Nurses Association. (n.d.). ANA enterprise

Required Media

  • Walden University, LLC. (Producer). (2018). The Regulatory Process [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.



  • Walden University, LLC. (Producer). (2018). Healthcare economics and financing [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.



  • Walden University, LLC. (Producer). (2018). Quality improvement and safety [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.


To Prepare:

  • Review the Resources and reflect on the mission of state/regional boards of nursing as the protection of the public through the regulation of nursing practice.
  • Consider how key regulations may impact nursing practice.
  • Review key regulations for nursing practice of your state’s/region’s board of nursing and those of at least one other state/region and select at least two APRN regulations to focus on for this Discussion.

By Day 3 of Week 5

Post a comparison of at least two APRN board of nursing regulations in your state/region with those of at least one other state/region. Describe how they may differ. Be specific and provide examples. Then, explain how the regulations you selected may apply to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who have legal authority to practice within the full scope of their education and experience. Provide at least one example of how APRNs may adhere to the two regulations you selected.

By Day 6 of Week 5

Respond to at least two of your colleagues* on two different days and explain how the regulatory environment and the regulations selected by your colleague differ from your state/region. Be specific and provide examples.

*Note: Throughout this program, your fellow students are referred to as colleagues.

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