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RN First Call

RNs who are BCCNP-certified in RN First Call use the DSTs listed below to diagnose and treat the following diseases and disorders:

  • Eye: conjunctivitis, minor corneal abrasion
  • Ear-Nose-Throat: acute otitis media, dental abscess, pharyngitis
  • Urinary Tract: female lower urinary tract infection

 Introduction to RN First Call

About RN First Call




RN First Call frequently (but not necessarily) occurs in small acute care hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centres and other settings where there is physician or nurse practitioner service available in the community.

Registered nurses who complete BCCNP certification in RN First Call:

  • diagnose and treat minor acute illness (including administering, compounding or dispensing Schedule I medications without an order) as set out in BCCNP-approved Decision Support Tools (DSTs).

RN First Call resources include:

  • Competencies for RN First Call Certified Practice
  • Adult and Pediatric DSTs

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Cardinal Signs and Symptoms: Important signs or symptoms related to the specific system that a remote practice nurse needs to assess in order to complete the history and physical assessment. This focused assessment will ensure that the nurse identifies signs or symptoms that direct client care or indicate a need for consultation with or referral to another health care professional.

Consultation: To contact a health care professional and consult regarding a client’s condition. The consultation provides an opportunity for the nurse to discuss findings with the health care professional, and may result in orders for treatment, or a decision to transfer the client to another facility.

Referral: Through consultation, a client may be transferred to the care of another health care professional for further investigations and/or treatment.

  • Non-urgent referral requires an appointment to be made with the relevant health professional.
  • Urgent referral requires immediate transfer of the client to the relevant health facility.

Adult: For the purposes of the Remote Nursing DSTs, adult is considered 19 years of age and older.

Pediatric: For the purposes of the Remote Nursing DSTs, pediatric is considered below the age of 19. The pediatric DSTs specify the lower age limit whereby RN(C)s may independently diagnose and treat the relevant minor acute illness.

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 Decision Support Tools (DSTs)

Access the DSTs


Eye assessment — adult  Conjunctivitis — adult
Corneal Abrasion (minor) — adult

Eye Assessment — pediatric

Conjunctivitis — pediatric
Corneal Abrasion (minor) — pediatric​


Ear, nose and throat assessment — adult    Acute Otitis Media — adult
Dental Abscess— adult
Pharyngitis — adult
Ear, nose and throat assessment — pediatric  Acute Otitis Media— pediatric
Pharyngitis — pediatric


Gastrointestinal-genitourinary assessment — adult new! Female Lower Urinary Tract Infection(UTI) — adult new!


Cardio-respiratory assessment — adult 
Cardio-respiratory assessment​ — pediatric