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What the regulation covers

Part 1: The basis for scope of practice

What the regulation covers

The Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation sets out, among other things:

  1. Reserved titles for nurses
  2. A scope of practice statement
  3. Restricted activities for registered nurses and nurse practitioners

Reserved Titles

BCCNM registrants can use the following reserved titles:

Registered nurse

Licensed graduate nurse


"Nurse practitioner" is also a reserved title under the Regulation. Only registered nurses who are registered with BCCNM in the nurse practitioner category can use the title “nurse practitioner” or “registered nurse practitioner.” More information about reserved titles can be found in the BCCNM Bylaws and the Practice Standard Appropriate Use of Titles.

Scope of Practice

Scope of practice refers to the activities that registered nurses are educated and authorized to perform. These activities are established through the legislated definition of nursing practice and are complemented by standards, limits and conditions set by BCCNM.

How nursing is defined in the regulation

The Regulation states that registrants of BCCNM may practise nursing. Nursing is defined as the health profession in which a person provides the following services:


health care for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health;



prevention, treatment and palliation of illness and injury, primarily by

(i) assessing health status,

(ii) planning, implementing and evaluating interventions, and

(iii) coordinating health services;


medical assistance in dying;


Registered nurses provide care only within the scope of practice. There are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. In situations involving imminent risk of death or serious harm that arise unexpectedly and require urgent action. Registered nurses are ethically obligated to provide the best care they can, given the circumstances and their individual competence1.
  2. Where a formal delegation process is in place. See Part 6.

Restricted Activities

Restricted activities are clinical activities that present a significant risk of harm to the public and are therefore reserved for specified health professions only.2 The Regulation assigns specific restricted activities to registered nurses. Restricted activities are discussed in Part 4.



Employers and nurses should not rely on the emergency exemption when an activity is considered an expectation of practice in a particular setting.


The B.C. government is currently developing a master list of restricted activities. The Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation sets out the restricted activities from this list that are within the scope of practice of registered nurses.

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We also acknowledge the unique and distinct rights, including rights to health and wellness, of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from elsewhere in Canada who now live in British Columbia. As leaders in the settler health system, we acknowledge our responsibilities to these rights under international, national, and provincial law.​