Standards & Guidelines

COVID-19 update: Standard of care and nurses’ accountabilities 

CNO understands that, more than ever, the health care system and all health care professionals are experiencing challenging and unsettling times. We understand that for nurses these challenges bring a high degree of uncertainty and stress as we experience change in ways we have never felt before. You may be concerned about being able to maintain standards of practice, particularly when mobilized to work in other areas, and we want to assure you that the standard of care is always considered in context. The standard of care can evolve with the dynamic nature of the pandemic, including that resources may become scarce or absent.       

Working in the health care system during a pandemic requires continual adaptation and adjustment in nursing practice. In this situation, it will be important to make reasonable efforts to comply with any direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and your workplace policies and procedures pertaining to COVID-19 management. While CNO will continue to receive complaints and reports during the pandemic, we appreciate that nurses are always doing their best in every situation and we will assess all information with consideration to the circumstances in which nurses are working.

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

The College 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, teleconferences and Practice Support  -- to help nurses understand the standards and how to apply them to their practice.

Page last reviewed April 09, 2021