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.
- Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses, 2017
- RN Practice Standards, 2019
- RN Entry-Level Competencies, 2019
- NP Practice Standards CRNS, 2017
- NP Entry-Level Competencies, 2017
Government of Saskatchewan
Government of Canada