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Working with limited resources

Situations where the need for health care is greater than the available resources can happen in any practice setting.

Nurses and midwives are responsible for providing safe, competent, and ethical care to clients in keeping with BCCNM's standards of practice, relevant legislation, and workplace policies, where applicable. 

If you find yourself working with limited resources, provide the best care possible under the circumstances. Here are some suggestions to help with your decision making.

Assess the situation and set pri​​orities

  • Identify client care needs requiring immediate attention and discuss how to meet these needs with colleagues.

  • ​​​Prioritize activities that are urgent. Modify clients' plans of care and/or delivery of care as needed.

  • If applicable, decide if your sup​​ervisor needs to be informed immediately about the situation. If so, clarify roles and responsibilities for resolving the situation.

Communicate and collab​orate

  • Review the situation with team members and discuss how and when to communicate during the workday. Update team as needed.
  • Inform clients, as appropriate, about changes in their plans of care and provide​ clear information about the care or services they can expect. For clients in the community, ensure they are aware of what to do or who to contact if their situation changes.

  • Communicate any changes in client conditions as needed with other team members.

  • Where applicable, work with your supervisor to resolve the situation by propo​sing solutions that promote safe, ethical, and competent care.


  • Docum​​ent all the care provided to clients according to standards and workplace policies as applicable.

  • Where applicable, document concerns about the situation and provide a copy to y​​our supervisor as per workplace process.​​

If you're a facing an ethical dilemma, review the Duty to Provide Care practice standard. 

Professional responsibilities​

As a nurse or midwife, you may face problems that impact your practice. The Resolving Professional Practice Problems resource can guide you in addressing problems that cannot be resolved at the individual level. ​

 Need help?

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

  • Email
  • 604.742.6200 x8803 (Metro Vancouver)
  • Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 x8803 (within Canada only)

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