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A message to the midwives, nurses, and nurse practitioners of B.C.

Sep 8, 2022

​It is almost two and a half years since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a public health emergency. It's difficult for me to remember what life was like before this, to be honest. We are, of course, much better equipped than we were in March 2020; we have effective vaccines, treatments, and a much deeper understanding of this disease. But we certainly aren't out of the woods.

The pandemic has demanded a lot of the nurses and midwives we regulate, who have been called upon to deliver care under extraordinary circumstances. I have heard from health care professionals who are frustrated that the world seems to be moving on from COVID-19, dispensing with precautions and returning to 'normal' life, without recognizing that the crisis continues. We are still seeing high rates of infection, hospitalizations, and deaths from this pandemic. 

You and your health practitioner colleagues are being significantly impacted by the shortage of health human resources in the system, meaning you are strained and stretched almost to the brink, all while coping with the stress of the pandemic on your own lives. We are also still hearing from nurses and midwives who are finding it difficult to provide the optimal care they are used to providing due to circumstances outside of their control. As I shared in my message last fall, the standard of care expected of nurses and midwives is always considered in context.

We are also still dealing with our other public health emergency—the overdose crisis. I know this is adding strain and emotional distress for many.​

I want to assure you that we are working within our regulatory mandate to be part of the solution. We participated last fall in a webinar supporting nurses working with limited resources. We are focussing our efforts to support increasing the number of qualified nurses and midwives entering B.C.'s healthcare system safely and efficiently. We are paying particular attention to further streamlining the registration process for internationally educated nurses, so they can enter the workforce more quickly in a role that aligns with their current skills and abilities. It's a complex process but we are committed to this work.

We are also working to expand opioid agonist prescribing for RNs and RPNs and prescribing for safe supply for NPs. In July, I joined the registrars from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and the College of Pharmacists of BC in a presentation on our response to the overdose crisis to the Select Standing Committee on Health, where we spoke of our collaborative efforts and provided recommendations. BCCNM is also actively participating in provincial-level committees to assist those leading and implementing strategies to address the overdose and drug toxicity crisis to understand applicable nursing standards and scopes of practice.

I know there is still much work to be done and we are committed to doing it. On behalf of the college board, staff and myself—and the public we serve— thank you for all you are doing to provide patients, clients, and their families with exceptional nursing and midwifery care. I have such admiration and respect for the work you do and the resilience you have shown.

Please feel free to email me if you have thoughts or concerns. I welcome your feedback.

Cynthia Johansen
BCCNM Registrar & CEO


Our website has a number of resources you can access:

Regulatory practice consultation

Regulatory Practice Consultation supports the identification, understanding, and application of BCCNM standards of practice and other regulatory considerations to nursing and midwifery situations. It is provided upon request to anyone who has questions about nursing and midwifery practice in B.C. This includes BCCNM registrants (licensed practical nurses, midwives, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and registered psychiatric nurses) and others including employers and other healthcare professionals.

To reach us:

We respond to inquiries as soon as possible, in the order they were received, and usually within three business days. Some consultations that are more complex, involve others, or require more information, may take longer than three business days to conclude.

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only) ​

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.​