In most states, the role of an advanced practice nurse is dependent on practice protocols that provide an organized method for analyzing and managing a disease or major symptom. They are also used to control the process of medical care and to specify steps in the delivery of that care. Creating appropriate practice protocols is one of the most important precursors to implementing the advanced practice role, because they virtually drive the clinician’s ability to treat or manage clinical situations or disease states. This article outlines the steps involved in developing practice protocols and discusses the content that should be included in a protocol, providing an example of narrative and algorithm format protocols. Pros and cons, as well as legal issues related to practice protocole, are also presented.

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