Individual practitioners must become familiar with the essential government actors—state legislatures and state licensing boards—who are responsible for developing and enforcing regulations governing their practice, including scope of practice determinations.
Involvement of and input from both professional organizations and individuals at various stages in the regulatory process is critical.
State licensing boards rely on the professional organizations to assess and define professional practice, standards of practice, and basic and advanced competencies that are the foundation for safe and effective care. These boards also look to state health-professional education and training programs to identify how practice standards and competencies are situated within the curriculum and clinical training.
One of the important responsibilities of professional organizations is to align the essential elements necessary for legal scope of practice and credentialing (licensure and certification of competency) with evolving practice.
Scope of practice is a central issue for NPs, midwives, and PAs, and their national and state professional organizations. Working with other reproductive rights advocacy and policy groups, individuals and their organizations must continue to situate early pregnancy termination procedures within the scope of health care services they can capably provide for their patients.
Disciplinary proceedings and scope of practice investigations target individual clinicians. To protect against such inquiries, individuals and their professional organizations must provide regulators with policy input demonstrating ability/competence and supporting an inclusive interpretation of scope of practice before these challenges occur.
Individuals who have not been active in, or in contact with, their state and national organizations may not receive the professional assistance those organizations can offer should their scope be challenged. This is detrimental to both the individual and the profession as a whole.
Working with your professional organization provides political support when facing challenges from anti-abortion groups but also challenges from organized medicine to limit scope of practice.