Scope of practice: freedom within limits

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2000 Nov-Dec;45(6):465-71. doi: 10.1016/s1526-9523(00)00070-2.


"Scope of practice" has a variety of meanings amongst midwives, other health professionals, health organizations, and consumers of midwifery care. For some, it refers to the Standards for the Practice of Midwifery; for others, it encompasses the legal base of practice; still others equate it with the components of the clinical parameters of practice. Because "scope of practice" is dynamic and parameters of practice can be impacted by many variables, succinctly defining "scope of practice" is difficult. This article provides a comprehensive discussion of the concept "scope of practice." Clinical scenarios are provided as case exemplars. The aim of this paper is to provide both new and experienced midwives with a substantive definition of the concept "scope of practice."

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Nurse Midwives / standards*
  • Nursing Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional Practice*