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​Procedures below body surfaces



A registrant in the course of practising nursing may do any of the following:




perform a procedure on tissue below the dermis, below the surface of a mucous membrane or in or below the surface of the cornea;




cast a fracture of a bone;

Some of these procedures are considered to be within the scope of practice of registered nurses while others are not. For example, registered nurses who act in a scrub nurse role carry out some surgical activities below the dermis on a physician’s order (e.g., holding retractors). Registered nurses who have successfully completed additional education and work in a nurse first assist role can do surgical suturing and harvest veins on a physician’s order. Doing surgery (including incision and drainage), however, is not within the scope of practice of registered nurses. Registrants who are in doubt about whether a procedure is considered within registered nurses’ scope of practice should contact BCCNM.

BCCNM Limits and Conditions

Registered nurses must successfully complete an RN First Assist Program before doing surgical suturing or harvesting veins under a physician's order.

Registered nurses who cast a fracture of a bone:

  • Require a client-specific order from a physician or nurse practitioner registered in BC.*
  • Must successfully complete additional education.

*Registered nurses may only act on a client-specific order to cast a fracture of a bone given by a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who is registered in British Columbia as per the Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation Section 7(3).