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You asked us

  • Q. I think I have the flu. If I call in sick, the unit will be short-staffed. Can I work?

    A. If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills and achiness, stay home. It may be difficult for you to work effectively and you may be contagious. Although it’s difficult knowing your absence might impact your colleagues’ work, you have a duty to protect your clients from the risk of infection. Staying home when ill is one way to do this. Washing your hands frequently and keeping your immunizations up to date are other ways to prevent infection and provide safe care to your clients.

    The Communicable Diseases: Preventing Nurse-to-Client Transmission Practice Standard provides more information about your responsibilities to provide safe care to clients.

  • Q. In our clinic, we use sclerosing agents to treat varicose veins. Do I need an order to administer these?

    A. Yes, you need an order. Although many sclerosing agents are Schedule II medications, you would administer these agents to treat a disorder, such as varicose veins, only after a physician has assessed the client, diagnosed the disorder and ordered the sclerotherapy.

    RNs can administer Schedule II medications without an order to treat a condition they’ve diagnosed, but we’re not aware of any conditions that RNs could treat autonomously by administering a sclerosing agent.

    See the Scope of Practice for Registered Nurses for more information and guidance.

  • Q. I work on a psychiatric unit. My client, an RN, was admitted for a drug overdose and possible addiction. Should she be reported to CRNBC? If so, who should report her?

    A. Yes, under the Health Professions Act, Section 32.3, the chief administrative officer, or someone working in that role, and the medical practitioner must report in writing to CRNBC. For more information see the Duty to Report practice standard or contact the CRNBC Nursing Concerns Coordinator at 604-736-7331 local 202 or 1-800-565-6505 (In Canada) local 202.

  • Q. What is the difference between pronouncement and certification of death? Can RNs or NPs do either?

    A. Pronouncement of death is the opinion or determination that, based on a physical assessment, life has ceased. Although there are presently no laws in B.C. governing who can pronounce death, your employer may have policies and procedures related to this.

    Certification of death refers to the completion of the death certificate identifying the cause of death. Currently, only physicians, nurse practitioners and coroners can complete and sign death certificates. Registered nurses cannot.

    You can find more information on completing death certificates in the BC Government’s Handbook for Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Coroners.

 Need help?

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

  • Telephone 604.736.7331 ext. 332
  • Toll-free in Canada 1.800.565.6505
  • Email practice@crnbc.ca
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