The Georgia statute, O. C. G. A. § 43-34-23, enacted in 1989, authorizes registered professional nurses (RNs) in public health, who are adequately prepared, to perform certain delegated medical acts under the authority of nurse protocol. Since the passage of this important legislation, the Department of Public Health has provided direction and guidance relative to public health nursing practice under nurse protocol.
The Office of Nursing, in collaboration with the Office of Pharmacy, has provided training, technical assistance and consultation regarding the use of nurse protocols in public health since this legislation was enacted in 1989. Since the early 1990s, the Office of Nursing has coordinated the process of reviewing, updating, producing and disseminating model nurse protocols for all of the public health program that use nurse protocols. The overall goal of developing all nurse protocols as a coordinated production is to assure consistency across programs and to assure compliance with all current laws, rules and regulations and best practices.
The programs currently using nurse protocols include Children’s Health, Women’s Health, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, HIV/AIDS, TB and Infectious Diseases. The Office of Nursing collaborates with the Offices of Pharmacy and Nutrition, the State Public Health Laboratory, each of the above named programs and the public health districts in managing the ongoing review process for developing nurse protocols.
The current process for biannual development of the manual, Nurse Protocols for Registered Professional Nurses in Public Health, runs from January to December of odd-numbered years. At its meeting in May of each odd-numbered year, the Nurse Protocol Committee approves the manual for the following calendar year. The manual is distributed in an electronic format and hard copy by December of that year. It is posted in a PDF format. Public Health districts review, revise and update nurse protocols annually, for use beginning of each year.