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​Consent is the voluntary agreement to some act or purpose made by a capable individual. Nurses' legal obligations concerning consent are set out in legislation. Their ethical obligations are to recognize, respect and promote a client's right to be informed and make informed choices. 

Practice Standard

Case Studies



My client is having surgery and has already signed the consent with the surgeon. However, they have questions and are unsure if they still want to have the surgery. What is my responsibility?

If the client has questions that you can’t answer or are the responsibility of the physician to answer, notify the physician. You have a responsibility to act if you believe the client has questions, changed their mind, or doesn’t adequately understand the planned care or treatment.

When providing information to clients and/or substitute decision makers, make sure that it meets their needs and abilities, and enables them to make informed decisions about care.

Document your assessment and notify the other health professionals involved.

​​The Consent​ practice standard provides guidance.​

The physician at the clinic where I work asks the nurses to sign the consent form on their behalf for routine procedures. Can I do this?

No. Nurses do not obtain consent for care, treatment, or services provided by another health care professional. Consent is obtained by the health professional responsible for providing that care.

Nurses are responsible for obtaining consent when initiating care within the nursing scope of practice and ensuring that informed consent is obtained before providing care ordered by another health care professional. ​​​​​​

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We acknowledge the rights and title of the First Nations on whose collective unceded territories encompass the land base colonially known as British Columbia. We give specific thanks to the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking Peoples the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), on whose unceded territories BCCNM’s office is located. We also give thanks for the medicines of these territories and recognize that laws, governance, and health systems tied to these lands and waters have existed here for over 9000 years.

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.​