Do nursing students practice under their clinical instructor's nursing license?
Nursing faculty frequently talk about students practicing under a nursing instructor's license. This is an inaccurate statement because the only person who works on a nurse's license is the person named on the license.
Nursing Practice Acts include statutory language that specifies what are called exemptions or exceptions to the requirement for a nursing license. Typically, practicing nursing as a student who is enrolled in an approved nursing program is one of the exempted (or excepted) practices. The nursing student is accountable for his or her nursing actions and behaviors to patients, the instructor, the facility and the nursing program.
The accountability for nursing instructors is for their decisions and actions as an instructor. For example, the instructor is accountable for the selection of patients for the nursing students' assignments. The instructor is expected to support students preparing for the clinical experience and to monitor students' clinical performance. Most critically, the instructor must intervene if necessary for the protection of the patients when situations are beyond the abilities of the students. Instructors must identify "teaching moments" as well as assess and evaluate the students' clinical performance.
The broader accountability reflects the education, experience and role of the instructor, who is accountable to the patient, the student, the facility, the nursing program and the professional licensing board.