Nursing Practice Update: Amendments to the Criminal Code to protect health care workers and people seeking access to health services
Changes to the Criminal Code came into effect on January 16, 2022, and serve to enhance protection for health care workers and people seeking access to health services. Violence and threats of violence towards Registered Nurses and other health care workers is a long-standing issue that has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic and has extended to the public who are seeking health services. A backgrounder from the Government of Canada is available here.
The Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS) has written an article further describing the changes to the Criminal Code and how they may intersect with Registered Nurses as health care professionals.
CRNS members are encouraged to read the linked articles in this update to become familiar with the legislation changes.
Questions? Contact an CRNS Practice Advisor by phone at 1.800.667.9945 or 306.359.4227, or by email at email@example.com.
Evidence shows that measures such as handwashing, masking and social distancing are effective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At this time, as COVID vaccines are being administered to the residents of Saskatchewan, the CRNS wants to remind RNs and NPs about expectations related to providing advice on public health protection and prevention measures.
RNs and NPs are leaders in the community. The public’s trust may extend to the views expressed by RNs and NPs on health matters communicated on social media and other forums. As such, statements made by RNs and NPs in public forums have the potential to impact the health and safety of the public.
RNs and NPs have a professional responsibility and are accountable to:
- use evidenced-based information to inform their professional practice;
- support patients and the public to make informed health care decisions, including decisions about public health prevention and protection measures; and,
- role model and follow public health directives that keep patients and the public safe.
The CRNS’s expectations of RNs and NPs regarding public statements, are outlined in the Registered Nurse Practice Standards, Registered Nurse Entry-level Competencies, Nurse Practitioner Practice Standards, Nurse Practitioner Entry-level Competencies and the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses.
The CRNS’s standards, entry-level competencies and code of ethics do not apply to all aspects of an RN’s or NP’s private life. However, those who choose to make public comments, while identifying themselves as an RN or NP, are accountable to the CRNS and the public it protects.
RNs and NPs are expected to adhere to the standards, entry-level competencies and code of ethics when carrying out their professional responsibilities. They have a professional responsibility to provide evidence-based information and care. Making anti-vaccination, anti-masking and anti-distancing comments may result in an investigation by the CRNS, and possible disciplinary proceedings.
Government of Saskatchewan
Government of Canada
The CRNS is currently reviewing the Graduate Nurse Practice Guideline and is seeking feedback on the content. This guideline provides information about topics such as the professional expectations, scope of practice and supervision requirements for Graduate Nurses (GN).
CRNS staff have reviewed and revised the existing document and are now seeking feedback from the public, partners and members as part of the external consultation process. This process is in place to ensure relevant information is clearly presented. Feedback can be provided by accessing this survey by August 7, 2020. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate.
Final approval occurs through the CRNS Executive Director and CRNS Council. The guideline will take effect on the CRNS Council approval date.
Questions or comments are welcome and can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.