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Nursing professional responsibility includes professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and cultural safety. Nurses have a professional responsibility to demonstrate knowledge and judgment and be accountable for their actions and decisions. Nurses must also be aware of how their actions and decisions reflect on their reputation, their employer’s/organization’s reputation and the nursing profession in general.

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As an NP, what should I consider when building my panel of primary care clients?

NPs accepting clients onto their panels are responsible to ensure clients have access to a primary care provider by:

  • ensuring systems are in place to provide continuity and follow up of care and diagnostic tests
  • advising their clients how to access care after hours and in their absence
  • working with their Primary Care Network to ensure their clients are covered if the NP is going to be unavailable for any extended absences

NPs decide to accept or decline new clients in good faith and not on personal judgments about the client or the client’s lifestyle. Under the BC Human Rights Code it may be considered discrimination to refuse clients for reasons of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age.

NPs consistently apply and document their client selection process. If NPs choose to limit their practice based on legitimate reasons (e.g., at practice capacity, competence, work-life balance) these limitations should be clearly and publicly available (e.g., by a sign in the office, on a practice’s website), and communicated to persons seeking care.

If NPs have introductory meetings to get to know new clients and learn of their health concerns and histories, the decisions to accept or decline clients should be made on the basis of the nature and scope of their practice and composition of their panel, not on the simplicity or complexity of the clients.

NPs convey decisions to decline someone as a client honestly and respectfully, and offer assistance to find an alternative health care provider as appropriate.

Do my clients have the right to know my name?

As a general rule, clients have a right to know who is caring for them. One way of demonstrating accountability is sharing your name and title with your clients.

All nurses have the right to be safe. Health care agencies need to balance clients' interests with staff safety. Agencies should have policies on staff identification, documentation and releasing employee names.

If I am charged with a criminal offence, do I need to tell BCCNM?

Yes. The college requires nurses to report criminal charges. Under the Criminal Records Review Act, nurses charged with a relevant or specified criminal offence must promptly report it to the college.

Report as soon as a charge is laid

We require nurses to contact us as soon as a criminal charge has been laid, before the information is disclosed to us by law enforcement or other third parties. We have an obligation to deal with such information in a transparent and fair manner while pursuing our public protection mandate.

Registered nurses are also required to disclose any outstanding or recently concluded charges every year when renewing registration. Failing to do so is considered to be misconduct under the Health Professions Act and will result in an investigation by our Professional Conduct Review department.

When we learn of a new charge or conviction for a criminal offence listed in the Criminal Records Review Act, we (a) require you to authorize a new criminal record check, and (b) notify your employer that we are requesting a criminal record check because you have disclosed an offence listed in the Act. All nurses must consent to a criminal record check every five years.

Requirements under legislation

The Criminal Records Review Act, helps protect children and vulnerable adults from physical, sexual or financial abuse. Under the Act, convictions include "conditional discharges," ""alternative measures" and "peace bonds" ordered under sections 717 and 810 of the Criminal Code.

Applicants must also disclose charges and convictions

Applicants to the college are required to disclose all outstanding charges and concluded criminal matters when applying for registration.​