The extended role of the nurse: The United Kingdom perspective

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There has been considerable discussion and debate in the United Kingdom regarding the role and function of the nurse. This article outlines the main tenets of the debate, namely the extended/expanded role and function, and gives a brief overview of the situation to date. Professional guidance from the United Kingdom Central Council for Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors is explored and the implications this has for the nurse in the exercise of accountability. The legal implications of the nursing function in an expanded role capacity is discussed, in particular in relation to legal accountability, with reference to existing case law. Recommendations are made for the development of the expanded role.

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