Standards & Guidelines

CNO provides practice standards and guidelines to support nurses in providing safe and ethical nursing care to the people of Ontario.

Practice standards outline the expectations for nurses that contribute to public protection. They inform nurses of their accountabilities and the public of what to expect of nurses. The standards apply to all nurses regardless of their role, job description or area of practice.

Practice guidelines, which often address specific practice-related issues, help nurses understand their responsibilities and how to make safe and ethical decisions in their practice.

The College provides a variety of educational and consultative services – including webcasts, and Practice Support  -- to help nurses understand the standards and how to apply them to their practice.

Standard of care and nurses’ accountabilities 

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) protects the public by promoting safe nursing practice

CNO understands that the health care system and all health care professionals continue to experience challenging and unsettling times. We understand that for nurses these challenges bring a high degree of uncertainty and stress. You may be concerned about being able to maintain standards of practice, particularly when moving to other practice areas, navigating new team structures, working with different patient populations or managing demanding workloads. We want to assure you that, for each situation, the standard of care is always considered in context.

CNO continues to appreciate and applaud your commitment and dedication. We understand you are considering patient needs, public safety, and doing your very best every day.




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Page last reviewed July 12, 2024