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Administering the COVID-19 vaccine is within the scope of practice of all practising nurses who have the appropriate knowledge, skill and judgment. Nurses ensure they have the required competencies to safely administer vaccines and not carry out the procedure if they are not competent to do so.
BCCNM does not train, educate or provide education materials for nurses related to giving COVID-19 vaccines; BCCNM sets the standards nurses must meet when giving immunizations. Nurses and organizations/employers work together to ensure nurses giving the COVID-19 vaccine have the required education. Please visit the
BCCDC website for required competencies and training information.
Remember, a nurse role models and follows public health directives that safeguard the health of the public. This includes knowing the evidence to dispel myths and misinformation when talking to clients.
While you’re not required to have a COVID-19 vaccine to be registered with BCCNM, you are responsible for protecting your clients from the risk of infection. Nurses and midwives have a professional, ethical and legal duty to provide clients with safe care. Review provincial and federal and your employer’s/organization’s policies about immunizations and disease control.
We encourage RPNs to review the RN version of the
Communicable Diseases: Preventing Nurse-to-Client Transmission practice standard for information about nurses' responsibilities to provide safe care to clients.
For nurses new to immunization administration who will be administering
only the COVID-19 vaccine, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is providing a condensed immunization competency education process. Please visit the
BCCDC website for details. As well, check with your employer to see if there is any organizational specific education you need.
Likely yes, as the handling and storage of the COVID-19 vaccine is different than other vaccines. Check with your employer to see what is needed at your organization.
Nurses must get a client-specific order to administer an immunization if they do not meet the standards, limits and conditions set out in their Scope of Practice standards.
Health care professionals who are authorized to give a client-specific order is laid out in your nursing regulation. Not all nursing designations have the same list of authorized prescribers. Review your nursing regulation to see who is authorized to give client-specific orders.
Only RNs/RPNs who meet the requirements in the
Giving a Client-specific Order standard can autonomously give client-specific orders for immunizations. If the nurse cannot fully meet the standard, they must get a client-specific order from another authorized health professional.
For example, a public health nurse (RN) with the immunization competencies can give a client-specific order to another RN, an LPN, or an RPN to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to a client they have assessed. The nurse who is administering the vaccine must follow the Medication practice standard and be competent to give an injection. Nurses who are
acting on a client-specific order to immunize do not need to meet all of the competencies established by BCCDC providing they were acting on an order and meet BCCNM standards .
Nurses (RNs, RPNs) giving client specific orders for the COVID-19 vaccine must follow:
Nurses work in the best interests of their clients to set priorities, use critical thinking skills and apply professional judgement in these circumstances. Nurses seek out credible sources of information and follow best practice guidelines to provide nursing services and minimize the risk of disease transmission to themselves, their clients and others.
If you have concerns about your personal safety or your competence to work in a particular area, collaborate with your employer to ensure you’re providing safe care and meeting all relevant standards of practice. TheDuty to Provide Care Practice Standard provides further guidance and information to support your decision-making. You can also refer to this
April 7, 2020, letter from the provincial nursing leads that references working in unfamiliar areas.
Self-employed nurses may need to consider their options in meeting client care needs. Proactive communication and a collaborative approach with clients and their families can help ensure client care needs are met.
The following BCCNM resources will assist you in your decision-making.
Nurses seek out credible sources of information and follow best practice guidelines to provide nursing services and minimize the risk of disease transmission to themselves, their clients and others. We acknowledge this is an unprecedented time in health care and we recognize your efforts.
Nurses use their clinical judgement, follow employer policies and procedures in assessing the appropriate need for PPE, as not every client care situation may require specific equipment.
The BC Centre for Disease Control provides specific guidelines on PPE use for Covid-19 via the
BCCDC Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidelines.
If you have concerns about your personal safety this is an important time for you to be proactive, to collaborate, and communicate your concerns to your employer. The
Duty to Provide Care Practice Standard provides further guidance and information to support your decision-making in order to provide the safest possible care as well as addressing your own safety and personal circumstances.
It is important for you to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving. During these unprecedented times nurses must prepare to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing practice environment. You can also refer to recent
Ministry of Health guidelines on use of masks in health care facilities.
You can also contact BCCNM Regulatory Practice Consultation
Yes, nurses can collect nasopharyngeal or throat swabs for COVID- 19 in any settings if they have the acquired competence and employer support. Nurses also need to consider following specific to their designation:
RNs and RPNs can collect nasopharyngeal or throat swabs for an appropriate client:
The Provincial Health Officer has
issued an order allowing LPNs to perform this activity without a client-specific order as part of a screening program designated by the Medical Health Officer for their geographic area.
For LPNs that are not part of this screening program, BCCNP has temporarily rescinded the requirement for LPNs to have additional education to perform this activity. Registrants and employers are reminded that prior to performing this activity, LPNs must be competent to perform the activity safely.
Nurses who have questions about this should contact their employer or local medical health officer.
The BCCDC is providing
guidance on lab testing.
As a nursing student, you may participate in formal learning experiences that your school has organized for you as a part of your nursing education program. However, outside of your formal nursing program you can only help as a volunteer. You are not able to help in a
nursing capacity unless you hold Employed Student Psychiatric Nurse (ESPN) registration. Visit
BC211 to register as a volunteer.
Yes, you can be redeployed—in non-pandemic times, ESPNs are authorized to work at a specific location/facility (usually a hospital site). Employers may reassign an ESPN to a different unit within the same
facility. Remember, ESPNs can only perform activities for which they have gained competence in their nursing education program.
Refer to the
Employed Student Registrants practice standard.
During the pandemic, ESPNs are being authorized to practice under a specific
health authority, so that the employer can have flexibility in deploying ESPNs where most needed.
No, and in fact it is not possible to have both at the same time. ESPN registration is held while you are a student and up to 30 days after your program completion.
If you're a student with ESPN registration who is graduating shortly, you can apply for provisional registration when you submit your BC Grad application. Once you have completed your program, your school will send BCCNM verification of program completion and BCCNM will review your eligibility for provisional RPN registration.
firstname.lastname@example.org you have questions.
The Provincial Health Officer has indicated that registrants can deliver in-person care in a way that promotes safe care to clients and continues to prevent the spread of the virus.
Read the detailed direction and recommendations for providing in-person community care.
We encourage nurses to review the expectations from the Provincial Health Officer and the BCCNM practice standard
Duty to Provide Care to determine how to proceed in their decision-making.
If you have questions after reviewing the above documents, you can contact Regulatory Practice Consultation
While there are many benefits to social media both for personal and professional use, nurses must be aware of the many risks, such as breach of privacy and confidentiality as well as providing false or inaccurate information. Nurses must use social media responsibly at all times.
Nurses need to consider the following when interacting via social media:
The following BCCNM Resources may be helpful to nurses during this challenging time.
Regulatory practice consultation is available by