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Opioid overdose resource centre

CRNBC news and resources related to the opioid overdose crisis

During this public health crisis, health authorities and nurses are working in non-traditional ways with other health care providers, first responders, service groups, non-profit organizations, volunteers and others to provide overdose treatment and prevention services.

Nurses work in the best interests of clients to prevent morbidity and mortality in these complex and changing situations, recognizing that some methods and approaches to service provision are uncharted.

As a nurse, you are responsible for providing the best nursing care possible under the circumstances, setting priorities, using your critical thinking and professional judgement, and participating in efforts to improve clinical care.

 FAQs

If I stop to help someone overdosing on the street when I’m off duty, does the emergency exemption apply?

​Generally, yes. The Health Professions Act’s emergency exemption applies if the situation:

  • arises unexpectedly;
  • involves imminent risk of death or serious harm to an individual; and
  • requires urgent action

This assumes you’re providing assistance without gain or reward or hope of the same.

In these situations, you are ethically obligated to provide the best care you can, given the circumstances and your individual competence.

The Duty to Provide Care Practice Standard provides more information and guidance about your legal and professional obligations to clients.

I work with overdose prevention services and sometimes sites and conditions are not ideal. A colleague told me that working in these situations puts my "licence at risk". Is this true?

​In this type of situation it is very unlikely that you would be reported to CRNBC. It’s important to remember that even in situations where nurses cannot provide optimal client care, they can still meet the Professional Standards. These situations are usually beyond a nurse’s individual control and often require a systems approach for resolution.

In order for CRNBC to become involved, a formal written complaint must be received, describing how a nurse’s unethical, impaired or incompetent practice puts clients’ at risk.

As a nurse, you are responsible for providing the best nursing care possible under the circumstances, setting priorities, using your critical thinking and professional judgement, and participating in efforts to improve clinical care.

CRNBC regulatory practice consultants available to respond to, speak or meet with you if you have any questions. Reach us at practice@crnbc.ca or 1.604.736.7331 (toll free 1.800.565.6505) x332.

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 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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