On September 16, the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) acknowledged and thanked registered nurses and nurse practitioners for their commitment and dedication to patient care and public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite tireless efforts of nurses and other healthcare professionals, Alberta’s healthcare system has been strained by increased hospitalizations and staggering ICU admissions. The vast majority of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. This continued strain has contributed to Albertans being unable to access and receive care. It has also contributed to nurses’ and other health care professionals’ burnout, and a host of physical, emotional and mental health concerns.
As an organization, we wanted to set out expectations and clear messaging during these times of uncertainty.
What is the CRNA’s Position on COVID-19 Vaccinations?
The COVID-19 vaccination is safe and effective for nearly every single individual aged 12 and older.
The CRNA strongly recommends vaccination to anyone who is eligible.
All registered nurses and nurse practitioners, regardless of their workplace setting, should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The likelihood that any individual, including a nurse, is exempt from vaccination is extremely low.
What Should I Do if We Know That Nurses Are Spreading Misinformation About the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Spreading misinformation and disinformation about vaccinations is in direct contravention of the CRNA’s code of ethics and standards of practice. Specifically, registered nurses and nurse practitioners have a duty to provide care in a safe, competent, and ethical manner and are required to meet the expectations outlined in the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (2017) and the Practice Standards for Regulated Members (2013).
The Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (2017) states that “During a natural or human made disaster, including a communicable disease outbreak, nurses provide care using appropriate safety precautions in accordance with legislation, regulations and guidelines provided by government, regulatory bodies, employers, unions and professional association.”
The CRNA’s Practice Standards for Regulated Members (2013), indicator 1.2, states that each nurse is accountable and responsible to follow current legislation, standards, and policies relevant to their practice setting, which includes employer policies.
It is the CRNA’s expectation that the code of ethics and standards of practice are followed by registrants at all times, in all practice environments and in all domains of practice. Failure to abide by the code of ethics and/or standards of practice is considered unprofessional conduct, and may be subject to a formal complaint, investigation and professional discipline.
What Should I Do if Someone Is Claiming to Be a Nurse When They Are Not One?
In Alberta, each regulated health profession has access to a list of protected titles and abbreviations that only members of their profession can use. Protected titles and abbreviations provide assurance to patients that they are dealing with a health care provider that is regulated and has the necessary training and experience to practice safely.
Inappropriately using a protected title can result in significant penalties outlined in the Health Professions Act.
Albertans are encouraged to register a complaint with the CRNA if they are aware of someone inappropriately using the protected titles and abbreviations listed on our website.
We strongly encourage all eligible Albertans to get vaccinated as soon as possible. the CRNA recognizes that some Albertans have not yet received the vaccine due to uncertainty, fear, or the spread of misinformation about vaccine safety. For further guidance and to help inform decision-making please visit Immunize Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and Alberta Health.