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Important notice

The following gl​ossary was produced to complement the Professional Standards ​for Licensed Practical Nurses​​​. The following definitions may not be applicable to registered nurse practice ​or registered psychiatric nurse practice. If you have any questions, please contact us​.​​​ ​​​​​​


The obligation to answer for the professional, ethical and legal responsibilities of one’s activities and actions.
To speak or act on behalf of self or others with the intent of influencing or adding voice and enhancing autonomy.
The supporting, protecting and safeguarding of client rights and interests. Advocacy is undertaken in the best interest of the client, is an integral part of nursing and forms the foundation of trust inherent in the nurse-client relationship.
Allocation of clients or client care activities among care providers in order to meet client care needs. Assignment occurs when the required care falls within the employing agency’s policies and role descriptions and within the regulated health care provider’s scope of practice. Assignment to unregulated care providers occurs when the required care falls within the employing agency’s policies and role description.
The feelings, beliefs, opinions and values predisposing a licensed practical nurse to behave in a certain way.
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The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others.
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Refers to individuals (or their designated representative), families, groups and communities in receipt of nursing care. In some clinical settings, the client may be referred to as a patient or resident. In research, the client may be referred to as a participant.
​​​Client outcomes
Health outcomes that can reasonably be expected based on the care and treatment provided.
​​​Client status
A clear, concise statement of a judgment made by a licensed practical nurse based on a holistic assessment, including the client’s perspective of his or her health and/or illness responses. Other terms may be used for client status such as nursing diagnosis, clinical judgment, signs and symptoms, patient problems, patterns of health or goals.
​Clinical data
Decisions derived from reasoning processes based in clinical judgment and evidence.
A joint communication and decision-making process with the expressed goal of working together toward identified outcomes while respecting the unique qualities and abilities of each member of the group or team. Each member of the health care team contributes within the limits of his or her legislated scope of practice and range of competencies.
Refers to persons who interact and have similar goals or interests, share common social supports and may or may not come from within the same geographic boundaries.
The integration and application of knowledge, skills, attitudes and judgment required for safe and appropriate performance in an individual’s practice.
The knowledge, skills, attitudes, critical thinking and clinical judgment required to perform safely, competently and ethically within an individual’s nursing practice or in a designated role or setting. A number of variables influence an individual nurse’s competencies, such as basic nursing education, experience and ongoing formal and informal learning.
​​​Competent care
Care provided with a degree of knowledge, skills, attitudes and judgment that could be reasonably expected of any qualified, prudent licensed practical nurse of the same standing in similar circumstances.
Taking action to ensure, respect and preserve a person’s privacy within ethical and legal protocols.
​​​Critical thinking
A purposeful, disciplined and systematic process of continual questioning, logical reasoning and reflecting using interpretation, inference, analysis, synthesis and evaluation to achieve a desired outcome.
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​​​Decision support tools
Evidence-based documents used by licensed practical nurses to guide the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of client-specific problems.
​​​Determinants of health
Factors that combine together to affect the health of individuals and communities. Determinants include social, economic and physical environment and a person’s individual characteristics and behaviour.
Encompasses acceptance and respect based on the understanding that each individual is unique. These differences include culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientations, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities and political beliefs or ideologies.
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The fundamental disposition of the licensed practical nurse toward what is good and right. Action toward what the licensed practical nurse recognizes or believes to be the best and most appropriate practice in a particular situation.
​​​Ethical decision-making
A systematic process for making logical and consistent decisions to determine the most morally desirable course of action in the face of conflicting value choices.
Data derived from various sources including research, national guidelines, policies, consensus statements, expert opinion and quality improvement.
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Two or more individuals who may or may not be related by blood, marriage or adoption.
​​​Fitness to practise
All the qualities and capabilities of an individual relevant to his or her capacity to practise as a nurse, including, but not limited to, any cognitive, physical, psychological or emotional condition or a dependence on alcohol or drugs that impairs his or her ability to practise nursing.
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A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It includes physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, psychological and social health.
​​​Health assessment
A process by which the licensed practical nurse obtains data on the client that includes a complete history of the client’s health status, as well as a comprehensive physical,​ psychological, spiritual and sociocultural assessment. The licensed practical nurse is prepared to complete health assessments on neonates, children and adults.
​​​Health care team
Clients, health care professionals, unregulated care providers, students and others who may be involved in providing care.
​​​Health promotion
The process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health based on an understanding of the determinants of health. Health promotion is particularly concerned with values and vision of a preferred future.
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​​​Incompetent practice
Practice that does not demonstrate the integration and application of the knowledge, skills, attitudes and judgment required for safe, competent and ethical practice.
Illustration of how a standard is applied and met. Indicators provide specific criteria that are used, when applicable, to measure the actual performance of an individual nurse.
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The intellectual process exercised in forming a conclusion, decision and plan-of-action based upon a critical analysis of relevant evidence.
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Broadly interpreted to extend beyond information, facts and “knowing about,” to include cognitive, experiential and intuitive sources of knowledge applied in nursing practice.
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The shared and independent responsibility to model the profession’s values, beliefs and attributes; and to promote and advocate for innovation and best practices. The attributes of leadership include self-awareness, commitment to individual growth, ethical values and beliefs, presence, reflection and foresight, advocacy, integrity, intellectual energy, being involved, being open to new ideas, having confidence in one’s own capabilities and being willing to make an effort to guide and motivate others. Leadership is not limited to formal leadership roles.
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A term used to refer to all four categories of regulated nursing professionals: licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners and registered psychiatric nurses.
​​​Nursing science
Knowledge (e.g., concepts, constructs, principles, theories) of nursing derived from systematic observation, study and research.
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​​​Professional conduct
Behaving in a manner that upholds the profession. It includes, but is not limited to, practising in accordance with BCCNM standards, policies and bylaws and all legislation relevant to LPN practice.
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​​​Quality improvement
An organizational philosophy that seeks to meet clients’ needs and expectations by using a structured process that establishes indicators of quality, monitors performance against the indicators and utilizes findings to make improvements in all aspects of service.
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The ability to respond and answer for one’s conduct and obligations, to have integrity and be trustworthy and reliable.​
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​​​Scope of practice
The activities nurses are educated and authorized to perform as set out in the Nurses (Licensed) Practical Regulation under the Health Professions Act and complemented by standards, limits and conditions established by BCCNM.
Adhering to the registration requirements, standards of practice, ethics and continuing competence, while practising within applicable legislation, regulation and other laws governing nursing.
Actions or behaviours carried out with an adequate degree of proficiency or dexterity in the performance of activities. Skills can be psychomotor (involving body movement and dexterity), cognitive (involving critical interpretation and decision-making) or relational (involving communication and being with clients).
An expected behaviour against which actual behaviour can be compared.
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​​​Unregulated care provider
A healthcare provider who is not part of a regulated health profession, who provides care to clients under the guidance of a regulated health professional.
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A belief or attitude about the importance of a goal, object, principle or behaviour.​​​​​​​​​
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​​Need help or support?​

For further guidance on understanding and applying the standards of practice, contact our team by completing the Standards Support intake form.​

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