From the Texas Board of Nursing Website:
Of concern to the Board is the growing number of inquiries related to RNs and non-CRNA advanced practice registered nurses administering Propofol, Ketamine, or other drugs commonly used for anesthesia purposes to non-intubated patients for the purpose of moderate sedation in a variety of patient care settings. It is critical for any RN who chooses to engage in moderate sedation to appreciate the differences between moderate sedation
and deep sedation/anesthesia
Moderate Sedation Versus Deep Sedation/Anesthesia
According to the professional literature "moderate sedation" is defined as a medication-induced, medically controlled state of depressed consciousness. Included in the literature from various professional organizations is the caveat that, while under moderate sedation, the patient at all times retains the ability to independently and continuously maintain a patent airway and cardiovascular function, and is able to respond meaningfully and purposefully to verbal commands, with or without light physical stimulation. Reflex withdrawal to physical stimulation is not considered a purposeful response. Loss of consciousness for patients undergoing moderate sedation should not be the goal and thus pharmacologic agents used should render this result unlikely. If the patient requires painful or repeated stimulation for arousal and/or airway maintenance, this is considered deep sedation.
In a state of deep sedation, the patient's level of consciousness is depressed, and the patient is likely to require assistance to maintain a patent airway. Deep sedation occurring in a patient who is not appropriately monitored and/or who does not have appropriate airway support may result in a life-threatening emergency for the patient. This is not consistent with the concept of moderate sedation as defined in this position statement or the professional literature and is generally considered to be beyond the scope of practice of the RN.
Although Propofol is classified as a sedative/hypnotic, according to the manufacturer's product information, it is intended for use as an anesthetic agent or for the purpose of maintaining sedation of an intubated, mechanically ventilated patient. The product information brochure for Propofol further includes a warning that "only persons trained to administer general anesthesia should administer propofol for purposes of general anesthesia or for monitored anesthesia care/sedation." The clinical effects for patients receiving anesthetic agents such as Propofol may vary widely within a negligible dose range. Though reportedly "short-acting", it is also noteworthy that there are no
reversal agents for Propofol.
The patient receiving anesthetic agents is at increased risk for loss of consciousness and/or normal protective reflexes, regardless of who is administering this medication. Again, this is not consistent with the concept of moderate sedation outlined in the professional literature.
Though the RN or non-CRNA advanced practice registered nurse may have completed continuing education in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and practiced techniques during the training program, this process does not ensure ongoing expertise in airway management and emergency intubation. The American Heart Association (AHA) cautions ACLS providers about attempting tracheal intubation in an emergency situation since "Repeated safe and effective placement of the tracheal tube, over the wide range of patient and environmental conditions encountered in resuscitation, requires considerable skill and experience. Unless initial training is sufficient and ongoing practice and experience are adequate, fatal complications may result."
1 It is also important to note that no continuing education program, including ACLS programs, will ensure that the RN or non-CRNA advanced practice registered nurse has the knowledge, skills and abilities to rescue a patient from deep sedation or general anesthesia. Furthermore, it is the joint position of the AANA and ASA that, "because sedation is a continuum, it is not always possible to predict how an individual patient will respond." These organizations state that anesthetic agents, including induction agents, should be administered only by qualified anesthesia providers who are trained in the administration of general anesthesia.
Therefore, it is the position of the Board that the administration of anesthetic agents (e.g. propofol, methohexital, ketamine, and etomidate) is outside the scope of practice for RNs and non-CRNA advanced practice registered nurses except in the following situations:
- when assisting in the physical presence of a CRNA or anesthesiologist
- when administering these medications as part of a clinical experience within an advanced educational program of study that prepares the individual for licensure as a nurse anesthetist (i.e. when functioning as a student nurse anesthetist)
- when administering these medications to patients who are intubated and mechanically ventilated in critical care settings
- when assisting an individual with current competence in advanced airway management, including emergency intubation procedures