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Medical Assistance in Dying

The role of nurses and nurse practitioners

Welcome to our Medical Assistance in Dying resource centre

On June 17, 2016, Bill C-14 became law. The Criminal Code of Canada has now been amended to allow a person to request and receive, under limited circumstances, a substance intended to end their life.

 RN and NP roles

Registered Nurse role

The registered nurse (RN) role is limited to aiding in the provision of medical assistance in dying (MAiD). RNs who are considering whether to aid in the provision of MAiD need to confer with their employer and are encouraged to seek the guidance of the Canadian Nurses Protective Society.

RNs considering aiding in the provision of MAiD must follow the RN Scope of practice standard that establishes standards, limits and conditions for RNs aiding in the provision of MAiD.

Nurse Practitioner role

The CRNBC Board on July 27, 2016 approved and put into immediate effect standards, limits and conditions related to the role of nurse practitioners (NPs) in determining eligibility for and providing medical assistance in dying (MAiD). These standards, limits and conditions have been incorporated into the NP Scope of Practice document, beginning on page 38.

With these changes, NPs are now recognized as having the following role in medical assistance in dying:

  • determining the eligibility of the person requesting medical assistance in dying based on the eligibility criteria established in the Criminal Code of Canada
  • providing MAiD by administering the medical assistance in dying substances to a person, at their request, that causes their death providing MAiD by prescribing and/or
  • providing the medical assistance in dying substances to a person, at their request, so that they may self-administer the substance and in doing so cause their own death
  • aiding in the provision of medical assistance in dying by a medical practitioner or another nurse practitioner

In addition to meeting CRNBC’s Standards of Practice, NPs are expected to work with their employer(s) to ensure they meet all relevant agency policies and standards related to the provision of medical assistance in dying.

 Ongoing collaboration

Provincial counterparts

CRNBC continues to work closely with our provincial counterparts and stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, Vital Statistics, BC Health Authorities, College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, and the College of Pharmacists of BC as we each carry out our respective roles related to implementing standards, protocols and safe approaches for providing and aiding medical assistance in dying.

In addition, the provincial government has passed a regulation which requires that all MAiD deaths be reported to the BC Coroners Service. The role of the BC Coroners Service will be to ensure compliance with the federal and provincial laws and regulations, and also to gather information about MAiD deaths in BC for aggregate reporting purposes.

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