In British Columbia (BC), nursing has been a self-governing profession since 1918. This means that nursing governs or exercises control over itself. This is accomplished by a provincial regulatory body. Every province has its’ own regulatory body. In BC the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC) regulates over 39, 000 registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed graduate nurses. Under provincial law, called the Health Professions Act, it is the duty of the CRNBC to protect the public by regulating its members.
CRNBC’s mission: Protecting the public through the regulation of registered nurses by registered nurses, setting standards, supporting registered nurses to meet standards, acting if standards are not met (CRNBC website, 2009).
More specifically, the CRNBC makes these commitments to fulfilling its mandate and mission:
- Public Interest - To protect the public through the regulation of registered nurses
- Self-regulation - To manifest the College's commitment to the privilege and responsibility of self-regulation.
- Education Standards - To establish entry-level competencies that reflect practice requirements and to recognize entry and re-entry nursing education programs in B.C. where graduates meet these competencies and the College's Standards of Practice.
- Registration Standards - To ensure that all registrants meet the standards for entry and re-entry into the profession and that these standards reflect British Columbia practice requirements.
- Standards of Practice - To establish and communicate Standards of Practice that define the level of practice that registered nurses are required to meet.
- Continuing Competence - To support registered nurses to understand and fulfill their obligation to uphold the Standards of Practice by maintaining their professional ethics and competence.
- Practice Environments To work with registered nurses, health organizations and other stakeholders to create and sustain practice environments that support safe, competent and ethical nursing care for the public.
- Complaint Process To provide an accessible and responsive complaint process to ensure that concerns about the practice of registered nurses are addressed in the public interest
Other activities carried out by the CRNBC include:
• Setting requirements to enter the profession of nursing
• Ensuring the standards of nursing practice are developed, monitored and enforced
• Require initial and annual registration to ensure safe, ethical and competent practice.
The CRNBC will support nurses to carry out their mission, and intervene when they feel nursing practice is questionable.