Scope of Practice is a terminology used by various professions that defines the procedures, actions, and processes that are permitted for the individuals providing a service. The scope of practice is limited to that which the law allows for specific education and experience, and specific demonstrated competency, but only when such laws exist.
Scope of practice can be easily identified by three categories. If requirements for practicing a skill or profession satisfy all three requirements then it is within that persons scope of practice:
Education and Training — Has the person been educated academically or on-the-job and have documentation proving education to do the item in question?
Governing Body — Does your state, district, province or federal government that oversees the skill or profession allow (or not explicitly disallow LINK) the item in question?
Institution — Does the institution allow a person or their profession to do the item in question?
What does it mean to "define scope of practice" in the world of midwifery? It means defining exactly what kinds of births are simply too risky to be taken on outside a hospital, and defining when/how a midwife should recognize that the situation at hand requires the expertise of an obstetrician. Defined scope of practice helps a midwife assess precisely what is "low-risk" and what is not. It helps her determine when to take action to ensure the safest circumstances. In short, a defined scope of practice helps a midwife know her professional strengths and limitations.
Defined scope of practice sets boundaries with a purpose, that purpose being safety. Having a defined scope of practice leaves no question marks for the midwife and works to protect the mothers and babies she serves. A regulatory body or responsible legislation
would provide for appropriate laws
, licensing bodies, and regulations that describe requirements for education and training
, and define scope of practice
. Unfortunately, there is currently no body of oversight in the state of Michigan that defines scope of practice for "midwifery", particularly in the out-of-hospital birth sector.
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