Public Statements by Registered Nurses

The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strain on our health system, and registered nurses have been at the forefront of that response for over a year. As public health measures continue to evolve and be required to mitigate the spread and impacts of the virus, it is essential that all RNs consider their professional responsibilities when making public statements on this important topic. 

Because registered nurses hold a position of leadership and trust within the health system and the community, any statements RNs make in public forums or on social media have the potential to influence the public and to be taken as an expression of professional views or advice [1]

RNs are expected to practise in accordance to the practice expectations, practice directions, and Code of Ethics. This includes expectations to: 

  1. use the best current and accurate scientific evidence to inform decisions in registered nursing practice, including public advocacy [2]; and
  2. to demonstrate professional behaviours and act as a role model in regards to observing public health measures that contribute to public safety [3];

The College strongly encourages all registered nurses to reflect on these and all related professional obligations (including any applicable workplace policies) before engaging in a public forum, and to avoid expressing views that are not supported by evidence such as anti-masking or anti-vaccine viewpoints. It is possible to encourage dialogue or suggest improvements to the current pandemic response without contributing to the distribution of scientifically unreliable or inaccurate information that is harmful to the public interest [4]. Any reports of such conduct that are brought to the College’s attention may be subject to further investigation or steps to ensure accountability.

Resources for RNs 

​Resources for the public

Notes:

[1] Entry Level Competencies of RNs, section 2.8;

[2] Practice Expectations for RNs, section 3; Entry Level Competencies of RNs, section 9.1 and 9.2;

[3] Practice Expectations for RNs, section 2; Entry Level Competencies of RNs, sections 1.7 and 2.5;

[4] RNs may wish to refer to the practice resource, Registered Nurse Responsibilities to Professional Practice Issues for support in providing leadership in the identification and resolution of professional practice issues.

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