Pandemic Planning

Pandemic planning is a best practice and nurses play a key role in this process. Proper planning is key to determining how a facility and its nursing staff will manage in emergency circumstances.

In the event that a pandemic is declared by the provincial Ministry of Health, CNO has a number of resources that can help nurses understand their responsibilities during a large-scale health emergency.

These resources will help you learn what CNO expects from nurses during a pandemic, as well as the practice standards and guidelines that are particularly relevant to nursing during such an emergency.

Accountabilities during a pandemic

During a pandemic, all nurses are accountable to … 

  • Take action when patient safety may be compromised. This includes identifying strategies to prepare for, reduce and resolve situations that may leave patients without the nursing services they need. 
  • Role model and follow public health directives that keep patients safe.
  • Self-reflect, determine learning needs and actively updating knowledge and skills to maintain continued competence.
  • Practice according to CNO's standards and guidelines during the pandemic. However, if there is a report or complaint, CNO will consider the context of the situation.

Reassignment/redeployment to other roles or duties

During a pandemic a nurse may be assigned or deployed to other roles or duties. In these situations, nurses are accountable to ensure they have the knowledge, skill and judgment, and the appropriate authority before performing any activity or procedure.

Nurses deployed to an unfamiliar area must:

  • Perform activities they are competent to do.
  • Find ways to address their learning needs specific to the new practice setting.
  • Seek role clarity and discuss their competency and expected responsibilities with their employer.
  • Seek advice, collaborate and support their health care team to uphold safe patient care
  • Work together with other health care experts to improve their patients’ care. 

COVID-19 Resources

CNO Resources

 Government resources




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Page last reviewed September 29, 2023