Practice Standards set out requirements related to specific aspects of nurses' practice. They link with other standards, policies and bylaws of the BC College of Nursing Professionals, and all legislation relevant to nursing practice.
Consent is the voluntary agreement to some act or purpose made by a capable individual. Clients and their substitute decision makers have the legal right to agree to, refuse or revoke permission for proposed care, service, treatment or research provided by a health care professional, at anytime.
Nurses1 have both legal and ethical obligations regarding consent for proposed care, service, treatment or research. The specific legislation that applies to a nurse’s practice depends on the work setting and the nature of the work. Some related legislation are listed in the
Resources section at the end of this practice standard. The ethical obligations of nurses are to recognize, respect, and promote the client's right to be informed and make informed choices, including to refuse or revoke permission.
consent2 generally requires that:
Informed consent is the formal consent sought by the health professional responsible for directing care. Nurses are responsible for obtaining consent when initiating care, and reviewing consent before providing the care ordered by another health care professional.
Employers provide the organizational supports and systems necessary for nurses to meet consent requirements and the standards of practice.
Assist the client and/or substitute decision maker to understand the information provided by others.
Take action when there are concerns about informed consent.
Scope of Practice for Licensed Practical Nurses: Standards, Limits and Conditions
Scope of Practice for Nurse Practitioners: Standards, Limits and Conditions
Scope of Practice for Registered Nurses: Standards, Limits and Conditions
Scope of Practice for Registered Psychiatric Nurses: Standards, Limits and Conditions
Information about legislation relevant to consent are found in the
Legislation Relevant to Nurses' Practice document.
Some examples of relevant legislation include:
*The list above is not intended to be exhaustive of all legislation that may have a bearing on the issue of consent in a particular situation. Consult your employer or seek legal advice as needed. *
"Nurse" refers to all BCCNP registrants, including: licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, licensed graduate nurses, employed student nurses, and employed student psychiatric nurses.
Adapted from the
Health Care (Consent) And Care Facility (Admission) Act, RSBC 1996, c. 181.
Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 181, section 9(1).
Robertson, G.B. & Picard, E.I. (2017). Legal liability of doctors and hospitals in Canada (5th ed.).Toronto, Ontario: Thomson Reuters.
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