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Working with limited resources

Situations where the need for health care is greater than the available resources can happen in any practice setting.

Nurses are accountable and responsible for providing safe, competent, and ethical care to clients in keeping with BCCNM's standards of practice, relevant legislation, and organizational/employer resources. 

Nurses are responsible for providing the best care possible under the circumstances. If you find yourself working with limited resources, here are some suggestions to help guide you with your decision-making process. 

Assess the situation and set pri​​orities

  • Review clients, assess specific concerns and immediate needs. 

  • Identify and prioritize activities that are necessary from those that can be delayed. 

  • ​Modify clients' plans of care and/or delivery of care as needed. Discuss how to meet the client’s needs with your colleagues.

  • Decide if your supervisor/manager needs to be informed immediately about the situation. If so, clarify roles and responsibilities for situations requiring immediate attention within your Practice setting.

Communicate and collab​orate

  • Review the situation with team members and discuss how and when to communicate during the shift or workday. Update team as needed. 

  • Inform clients, as appropriate, about changes in their plans of care and provide clear information about the care or services they can expect. Ensure your clients are aware of what to do or who to contact if their situation changes.

  • Communicate any changes in client conditions as needed with other health care team members.

  • Work with your supervisor/manager to resolve the situation by proposing solutions that promote safe, ethical and competent care. Know where to find the relevant resources.


  • Document all the care that is provided to clients following BCCNM documentation practice standard and organizational policies.

  • Document concerns about the situation and provide a copy to your supervisor/manager as per your organizational process.​​​

Professional Respons​​i​bilities

If you're facing an ethical dilemma, follow the ethical decision-making framework in the Duty to Provide Care practice standard.

As a nurse or midwife, you may face problems that impact your practice. The focus of Resolving Professional Practice Problems resource can guide you in addressing problems that cannot be resolved at the individual level.​