Skip to main content

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automatic external defibrillation (AED) are lifesaving techniques useful in emergencies. BCCNM often receives calls from nurses and employers asking if CPR certification is a condition of BCCNM registration.

While BCCNM​ does not require CPR, AED or first aid certification, there are standards applicable to this question. Your Professional Standards and Code of Ethics (RPN) give further guidance.


CPR is not required in my current role or by my employer. If a client, visitor or staff member requires emergency care, what standards do I follow?

A lack of employer or organization requirements or policies doesn’t relieve nurses of accountability for their actions or their duty to meet professional standards.

The Duty to Provide Care practice standard states, "in emergencies, nurses are ethically obligated to provide the best care they can, given the circumstances and their level of competence." This may include calling 911, providing CPR if you are competent to do so, supporting others to provide CPR, getting supplies, etc. Know and follow your employer’s policy on emergency care.

Would I be covered by liability protection for performing CPR?

​All RNs registered with BCCNM have liability protection through the Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS). Please refer your questions to your specific insurance provider. Your employer may also have applicable insurance coverage. ​

Do I need CPR, AED or first aid certification to register as a nurse with BCCNM?

​No, nurses do not require these certifications for registration with BCCNM. Your employer may, however, require current certification or training in these skills as part of your role.

BCCNM standards require nurses to be competent in their roles. Individual nurses are responsible for attaining and maintaining the specific skills required for their roles, which may include investing own time, money and other resources.  ​​

What if my client doesn’t want CPR?

If receiving CPR is not part of a person’s wishes, the nurse has a legal obligation to honour this wish; however, depending on the emergency (e.g. choking, fall, anaphylaxis) other emergency treatment may be appropriate.

Nurses should know if someone else is authorized to consent on the client’s behalf (substitute decision maker, advance directive, representation agreement, under adult guardianship).

When a client’s wishes don’t include provision of CPR, nurses follow the principles in the Consent Practice Standard, and

  1. understand and meet their ethical obligations to recognize, respect and promote the client's right to be informed and make informed choices, and
  2. respect the rights of clients and substitute decision-makers to seek further information, or another opinion, and to involve others in the decision-making and consent process.
My employer requires me to be certified/re-certified in CPR. Am I responsible for getting this on my own?

​Nurses are responsible for attaining and maintaining the specific skills required for their roles. It’s your professional responsibility to ensure you have the knowledge, skills and judgment to carry out your role. Check with your employer if any support is available for CPR certification.

Is CPR certification an entry to practice competency/requirement for newly graduated nurses?

While all nursing education programs in B.C. require their students to have CPR certification, CPR certification is not an entry-level competency set by BCCNM for new grads. ​​

I am an employed student nurse. Do I need to have my CPR certification?

Yes. CPR is an admission requirement of nursing education programs in B.C. and is a prerequisite for most nursing practice courses. Working as an employed student nurse requires you to follow your school’s CPR policy. The certification type (CPR-HCP, CPR-C, etc.) varies by school so check if your school’s requirement meets the employer’s policy. ​