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How practice is described in the regulation

Part 1: The basis for scope of practice

The Regulation sets out three kinds of practice:

  1. General practice
  2. Certified practice
  3. Nurse practitioner practice
General practice

In carrying out general practice activities, registered nurses move from novice to expert without having to obtain any additional regulatory approval from BCCNM. General practice includes:

Activities that are restricted and activities that are not restricted

Activities that registered nurses can carry out within their autonomous scope of practice and activities that require a client-specific order from a listed health professional.

Sections 6 and 7 of the Regulation list the restricted activities that registered nurses may carry out as part of general practice.

Although no additional regulatory approval is needed to carry out general practice activities, BCCNM has the authority to determine the following:

  • Which activities are considered the practice of nursing within the scope of practice set out in the Regulation
  • Any standards, limits and conditions that may apply

Registrants who are in doubt about whether some aspect of their practice falls within the scope of registered nurse practice should contact BCCNM for clarification. Registered nurses are required to follow the standards, limits and conditions set by BCCNM.

Certified practice

Section 8 of the Regulation describes some restricted activities as certified practices. Registered nurses cannot carry out these activities within their autonomous scope of practice until they have been certified by BCCNM. ​

Nurse practitioner practice

Section 9 of the Regulation describes restricted activities for nurse practitioners. The scope of practice of nurse practitioners includes all activities within the scope of practice of registered nurses. As with registered nurses, an activity within the scope of practice of nurse practitioners may not be within an individual nurse practitioner's competence. ​

Two key principles

The Health Professions Act and Regulation support and clarify two key principles that BCCNM believes uphold safe nursing practice:

  1. The scope of practice reflects the reality of registered nurse practice.
  2. Clear responsibility and accountability among health professionals is fundamental to the provision of safe and ethical client care by competent nurses.

The Regulation supports the first principle by reflecting common practice of registered nurses. It supports the second principle by clarifying responsibility and accountability of registered nurses in their practice. For example, the Regulation makes clear that certain restricted activities may be carried out by registered nurses within autonomous scope of practice, while other restricted activities require a client-specific order from a listed health professional.