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The Practice of Nursing

Updating the RN framework

We’re revising the Framework for the Practice of Registered Nurses in Canada and we conducted a survey to see if our changes reflect your practice. Thank you to everyone who provided their feedback. It will be carefully considered before we publish the updated framework in 2015.

The current RN framework

Framework for the Practice of Registered Nurses in Canada Cover Image
Registered Nurses (RNs) receive legal authority to use the title “registered nurse” or “RN” through provincial and territorial legislation and regulation. RNs practise in all provinces and territories in Canada and across the full range of clinical care, education, administration, research and policy settings.

The Framework for the Practice of Registered Nurses in Canada [PDF, 1.2 MB] was originally published in 2007. It promotes a common understanding of the current practice of RNs in Canada. Given the large number of regulated and unregulated care providers, it is important for policy- and decision-makers and employers to clearly understand the competencies and contributions of RNs and to know in what situations an RN is most appropriate.

Created through a national working group and consultation process, the framework is a resource for RNs as they work with others in planning a health-care system that is responsive to the needs and priorities of Canadians.

Key Elements include:

  • Definition of RN
  • Theoretical foundation of the practice of RNs
  • Professional practice
  • RN careers
  • The impact of RNs

A profession’s scope of practice encompasses the activities its practitioners are educated and authorized to perform. The overall scope of practice for the profession sets the outer limits of practice for all practitioners. The actual scope of practice of individual practitioners is influenced by the settings in which they practice, the requirements of the employer and the needs of their patients or clients. Although it can be difficult to define precisely, scope of practice is important because it is the base from which governing bodies prepare standards of practice, educational institutions prepare curricula, and employers prepare job descriptions. Consumers, too, need at least a general understanding of scope of practice to know who is qualified to provide different kinds of services.