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Am I practicing nursing in my new role?

I am a Registered Nurse who recently transitioned into a leadership position. I will no longer provide direct patient care in this role. Am I still practicing nursing? 

CNO cannot determine if you are practicing nursing, as we are not present in your practice environment to fully assess or appreciate your practice. Nurses self-declare their nursing practice.

It is important to remember that nursing practice is diverse and is not defined by your role, title, practice setting or a procedure or activity you may be performing; practicing nursing is not the same as being employed as a nurse. 

We have developed a list of questions to help you reflect on whether you are practicing nursing or not:

  • Are you registered as a nurse in the jurisdiction in which you are practicing as a nurse?
  • Do you have a direct or indirect effect on a patient's care? For example, a bedside nurse has a direct impact on a patient's care; a nurse at the managerial level, in leading risk management, will have an indirect impact on a patient's care.
  • Do you have a direct or indirect effect on health care systems? This means that while you aren't directly providing patient's care, your role is impacting the health care environment, policy, resources or knowledge – all the factors contributing to a patient's care. For example, a nurse working in a risk management position in a health-related organization will have an indirect impact on patient care through their role by informing decisions related to health care.
  • Are you using your nursing knowledge, skill and judgment in your role? For example, a nurse who is a professor in a nursing or health related program will draw on their nursing knowledge, skill and judgment when teaching students and supporting them in the provision of care.
  • Are you conveying to the public that you are a nurse? For example, do you use the protected titles of Nurse (NP, RN, or RPN) as a way of demonstrating your credibility and knowledge to the public?
  • Based on your role, title and how you present yourself, would the public expect you to use your nursing knowledge or skill in your interactions with them? For example, a nurse working for an insurance company assisting patients with health care claims. If patients know a nurse is assisting them, they will expect the nurse to have and use relevant nursing knowledge, skill and judgment.
  • What are your reasons for using the protected titles of Nurse, NP, RN or RPN? Is it because you wish people to know you have that credibility, expertise, knowledge, skill or ability? What do you expect them to do with this information?

If, after answering these questions, you decide you are practicing, you must:

Each year during Annual Membership Renewal, nurses are asked to make a self-declaration about their nursing practice within the previous three years. This contributes to public protection by ensuring that members registered in the General or Extended classes have recent nursing practice.

Page last reviewed July 28, 2022