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FAQs & resources

 BCCNP resources and supports

Nurses from all designations and areas are being asked to work in unfamiliar areas or in new ways to provide nursing services related to the COVID-19 pandemic. You may have questions regarding your professional practice or concerns about personal safety. You may be asked to work in clinical areas outside of your usual practice for the benefit of clients, individuals and the population overall.  During this uncertain time remember that nurses are expected to:

  • Uphold the core principles of nursing practice, collaborate, and communicate with colleagues and leadership for guidance and support
  • Work in the best interests of their clients to set priorities, use critical thinking skills and apply professional judgement.
  • Seek out credible sources of information and follow best practice guidelines to provide nursing services and minimize the risk of disease transmission to yourself and your clients.

We acknowledge this is an unprecedent time in health care and we recognize your efforts. If you need more information or wish to speak with someone about a practice concern, please contact one of our Regulatory Practice Consultants.  

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


Do nurses need to self-isolate for 14 days if they return from international travel?

Please see the latest advice from the Provincial Health Officer, dated March 24, 2020.

 Duty to provide care

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my employer has asked me to work in an unfamiliar area. Can I refuse to work in that area?

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. The Duty 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 BCCNP resources will assist you in your decision-making.

You can also contact BCCNP Regulatory Practice Consultation

Visit BCCNP's COVID-19 resource section for the most current information.

​​I am concerned that my employer is running out of the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for me to do my job. Can I refuse to care for those patients without having the right PPE?

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 patient 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 with 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.

Related resources

You can also contact BCCNP Regulatory Practice Consultation

  • Email
  • Call 604-742-6200 ext. 8803
    Toll Free: 1.866.880.7101.

 Scope of practice

Can nurses (RN, LPN, RPN) collect nasopharyngeal and throat swabs for COVID-19 in any setting?

​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

RNs and RPNs can collect nasopharyngeal or throat swabs for an appropriate client:

  • autonomously, or
  • with a client-specific order. 


The Provincial Health Officer has issued an order allowing LPNs to perform this activity without a client-specific order (see BCCNP announcement of May 14th) 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.


During the pandemic I have been asked to provide telehealth nursing services. What BCCNP standards do I need to consider?

​Nurses engaged in telehealth are responsible and accountable for the nursing services provided to clients via telehealth. Even though the format for providing care may be different, your responsibilities in meeting BCCNP Standards of Practice remain unchanged. Ensure you also follow your employer/provincial policies related to telehealth. While the BCCNP Telehealth practice standard currently only applies to RNs and NPs, we encourage all nurses engaged in telehealth to review it for guidance.

There are a number of additional BCCNP standards that broadly outline nurses' accountabilities in healthcare and must be met. In particular those standards related to consent (RN-NP, LPN, RPN), privacy & confidentiality, nurse-client relationships, conflict of interest, and documentation.

If I provide telehealth services from BC to clients who are in another province, do I have to be registered in that province?

​Nurses who are physically located in B.C. providing telehealth nursing services are required to be registered in B.C. regardless of where the client is.

When you register with BCCNP, you agree to follow the college's standards of practice. We recommend contacting the nursing regulator in the jurisdiction where the client is located to see if they have additional registration requirements for you.  

I am registered and located in another province and I provide telehealth nursing services to a client living in B.C. Do I also need to be registered with BCCNP?

​Individuals who are located and registered as nurses in Canadian province/territory outside B.C., but who are providing telehealth services to clients in B.C., are responsible and accountable to the regulatory body in the province/territory in which they are registered. They do not need to be registered with BCCNP if they are considered by their regulatory body to be practising in the province where they are located, but they cannot represent themselves as a BCCNP registrant.   

BCCNP telehealth resources


Practice standards

Professional standards

Legislation Relevant to Nurses' Practice

Additional resources

 Student nurses

I’m a nursing student and I want to know how I can help during the pandemic?

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 Nurse (ESN) or Employed Student Psychiatric Nurse (ESPN) registration. Visit BC211 to register as a volunteer.

I am an ESN/ESPN, or I have worked as an ESN/ESPN, how can I help during the pandemic?

​If you hold practising ESN or ESPN registration with BCCNP and you're working as an ESN/ESPN, you may be able to help out. If you do not have current ESN/ESPN registration, please see BCCNP's information on nursing students: Participating in the COVID-19 pandemic response. Remember you must have a job offer to apply for ESN/ESPN registration with BCCNP.

If I am working as an ESN/ESPN can I be reassigned or redeployed to another practice area?

​Yes, you can be redeployed—in non-pandemic times, ESNs are authorized to work at a specific location/facility (usually a hospital site). Employers may reassign an ESN or ESPN to a different unit within the same facility. Remember, ESNs/ESPNs can only perform activities for which they have gained competence in their nursing education program. 

Refer to the Employed Student Registrants and Employed Student Psychiatric Nurse Registrants practice standards.

During the pandemic, ESNs/ESPNs are being authorized to practice under a specific health authority, so that the employer can have flexibility in deploying ESNs/ESPNs where most needed.

If I have ESN/ESPN registration and I want to apply for Provisional Registration, can I have both?

​No, and in fact  it is not possible to have both at the same time. ESN/ESPN registration is held while you are a student and up to 30 days after your program completion. If you're a student with ESN/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 BCCNP verification of program completion and BCCNP will review your eligibility for provisional RN/RPN registration.

Email you have questions.

I heard the NCLEX and other exams are being cancelled or postponed? Is this true?

​The NCLEX is currently available at limited testing centres. Pearson Vue is hoping to open additional centers in May but have not confirmed details about which centres.  It is best to check the Pearson Vue or NCSBN websites for timely updates about the NCLEX.

The Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE) has been postponed from May 20 to August 19, 2020. To date, the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPRNE) sittings have not been changed but changes could still be made.

Email if you have questions.

 Nurses who are self-employed or in private practice

I'm a nurse who is self-employed or in private practice. When and how can I resume in-person care?

The Provincial Health Officer has indicated that registrants can now begin to resume in-person practice in a way that promotes safe care to patients 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 BCCNP practice standard Duty to Provide Care to determine how to proceed in their decision-making.

BCCNP resources

BCCNP has guidance for self-employed nurses:


If you have questions after reviewing the above documents, you can contact Regulatory Practice Consultation

 Privacy & confidentiality

I’m seeing a lot of social media posts from nurses on COVID-19 including sharing positive patient test results and concerns around social distancing. What should nurses consider before posting anything, including about COVID-19, to social media?

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:

  • Nurses are expected to uphold the BCCNP Standards of Practice at all times and in all settings, including on social media platforms.
  • Before posting or commenting – first and foremost, nurses should reflect on why they are sharing information via social media. They should use their professional judgement and keep their obligations to clients, colleagues and employers at forefront.
  • Registrants who identify themselves as a nurse on social media have a professional responsibility to maintain professional conduct even if posts are made while off duty.  Social media posts have the potential to negatively impact both the public's perception of nurses and trust in the nursing profession as a whole and could be considered "unprofessional conduct" under the Health Professions Act.
  • Nurses maintain the privacy and confidentiality of their clients or any other clients at all times.
  • Nurses do not share any information about clients on social media, such as posting information about a colleague who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Nurses must be aware of and follow their employer policies on privacy and confidentiality including those guiding the use of social media.
  • Nurses work  collaboratively when  addressing their concerns about COVID-19.

The following BCCNP Resources may be helpful to nurses during this challenging time.


Regulatory practice consultation is available by