Scope of practice

Scope of practice goes hand-in-hand with another key concept, duty of care. Your organisation has a duty of care to ensure that HIV Peer Navigation is provided by people with the appropriate skills and training, considering the needs and risks that clients are experiencing. Scope of practice refers to the range of services and care you can provide given your training and personal/professional skills. It is important that you don’t provide care outside your scope of practice. A key question is ‘can I manage the needs/risks that are presented by my client?’

Scope of practice can be defined in a general and a personal sense:

  • What kinds of care can HIV peer navigators generally provide?
  • What kinds of care can I personally offer?

General scope of practice

Your organisation may have a document that outlines what kinds of care and support HIV peer navigators can provide. Often this list is negotiated in discussion with other care providers, such as counsellors, social workers and clinicians, who may provide forms of care that are out-of-scope for HIV peer navigators. Having a formal, agreed document can make it easier to identify when you need to communicate your boundaries and make a referral to another provider.

However, your scope of care might be outlined across a series of different documents (source):

  • position descriptions
  • employment contracts
  • competency requirements
  • training outlines

Personal scope of practice

Your personal scope of practice will reflect your training and work experience. It can be harder to define because it can emerge and evolve through practice and it can be documented in different forms and places.

  • orientation
  • supervision
  • performance review
  • competency and skills evaluation
  • audit/review of your practice

It is preferable that your organisation has a formal document, such as a position description, that is regularly updated and reflects your own personal scope of practice as well as the general scope of practice for the role.

Exercise

Does your organisation have a general scope of practice document?

How would you document changes in your own personal scope of practice?