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The nurse's role in MAiD

For LPN, RN and RPN

There are multiple roles for nurses related to medical assistance in dying. These include:

  • providing information and education about MAiD and answering questions about MAiD-specific care
  • acting as an independent witness (as per the Criminal Code)
  • acting as a proxy (as per the Criminal Code)
  • acting as a witness in a telehealth assessment
  • aiding in the provision of MAiD

Only pharmacists, physicians and NPs, who are caring for the person requesting MAiD, have a role in prescribing, compounding, dispensing, administering or documenting the medications for MAiD.

Nurses do not prescribe, dispense, compound, prepare or administer any medications associated with MAiD.

Aiding in the provision of MAiD

Nurses CAN assist the physician or NP in providing MAiD by carrying out activities such as:

  • inserting an IV line used by the physician or NP to specifically administer the MAiD medication. NOTE** aiding does not include inserting an IV line for other medication that may later include MAiD medications

Nurses CANNOT perform any of the following activities related to MAiD:

  • encourage, recommend, counsel or advise a person to consider MAiD (e.g. "have you thought about", "you might want to consider")

  • assess or determine a person's eligibility for MAiD

  • prescribe, compound, dispense, prepare or administer any medication for the purpose of providing MAiD. It is recommended that nurses do not handle MAiD medications in any way.

  • pronounce death related to MAiD

  • document any aspect of the MAiD procedure (including documenting the administration of the medication) that is the responsibility of the physician or NP—the physician or NP must do this

  • aid in the provision of MAiD for a family member

Nurses' responsibilities

It is the nurse's responsibility to understand and comply with relevant legislation. Nurses aiding a physician or NP in the provision of MAiD:

  • understand and follow BCCNP standards; the Criminal Code, provincial legislation and direction; employer MAiD policies and processes
  • complete additional education and follow an established/employer-approved decision support tool (DST)
  • possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide safe, competent and ethical care
  • are aware of client eligibility, safeguards and requirements for MAiD
  • are reasonably certain that legal conditions for MAiD are satisfied
  • seek professional or employer legal advice as needed

 Need help or advice?

​​​For further information on the Standards of Practice or professional practice matters, contact us:

  • Email practice@bccnm.ca
  • 604.742.6200 x8803 (Metro Vancouver)
  • Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 x8803 (within Canada only)