What is Nurse Compass?

Nurse Compass is an interactive learning tool created to help primary care providers, leaders, and teams get to know and improve their knowledge of the scopes of practice for nurses in British Columbia including Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and five Certified Practice Nurses. Certified Practice Nurses are RNs who have an expanded scope of practice in one of the following areas: Remote Nursing, Reproductive Health (Sexually Transmitted Infections), Reproductive Health (Contraceptive Management), RN First Call, and Opioid Use Disorder.  Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) are not included in Nurse Compass at this time as they are not eligible for funding through the Ministry of Health’s Nurse in Practice Program.

Nurse Compass is comprised of several sample care activities that are common in primary care and users can select activities according to the needs of their clinic or patient population to explore which nursing designations can perform those activities.

While the list of care activities is not exhaustive and does not represent the full breadth of nursing scope across all designations, it does reflect a diverse cross-section of care that is both in high demand in primary care and reflective of the broad range of care nurses may provide.

Nurse Compass was developed, with funding from the Ministry of Health, by Health Quality BC (HQBC) and the UBC Innovation Support Unit (ISU), who consulted with Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of British Columbia (NNPBC), British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), the Nursing Policy Secretariat, Ministry of Health, and leaders from Health Authorities across BC.

What are the types of nurses in BC?

Nursing in BC is comprised of several different designations with unique skillsets and competencies: Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Registered Nurses (RN), Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN), and Nurse Practitioners (NP). In addition, Certified Practice RNs and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) are designations unique to BC. Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) are not included in Nurse Compass at this time as they are not eligible for funding through the Nurse in Practice Program.

What will Nurse Compass do?

  • Foster greater understanding of the nursing family designations in BC, including identifying team members who can best meet the care needs of your patients.
  • It can help you improve your knowledge on the scope of nurses, who are self-regulating professionals and can practice both autonomously and in collaboration with others in the health care team.
  • Help you understand the controls on nursing practice and your responsibilities as a nurse employer.

What won’t Nurse Compass do?

  • Nurse Compass will not tell you what type of nurse to hire.
  • Nurse Compass will not tell you about the competencies, training, and clinical experiences of individual nurses. The best way to determine this information is to talk to the nurse and determine together how individual skill and competence can meet the needs of patients. Additionally, talk about areas to build and maintain competence through continuing professional development and practice opportunities.

What should I do before using Nurse Compass?

  • Think about the areas of care and care activities that are the top priority for patients.
  • Determine what employer level supports you have available, including dedicated time and resources for education, professional development, and competency maintenance/growth.
  • Consider the current workflow in your clinic and how a new nurse role will fit into it.
  • Consider the possibility of professional development for current team members to support new competencies within their scope of practice. Investing in your existing nursing team is critical to retention and can occur alongside recruitment of new nurses.

What can I do with Nurse Compass results?

  • Create high quality job descriptions to attract nurses with the right experiences and training to your practice.
  • Consider your resources for onboarding, orientation, team building, mentorship, and overlap with other team members in deciding what type of nurse to hire.
  • Ask questions of nurses in ways that demonstrate a respectful understanding of nursing knowledge, scope, and practice.
  • Review scope documents for additional detail and direct any questions about scope to  BCCNM, and any questions about decision support tools to NNPBCBCCSU, and BCCDC.
  • Use the results to continue with your hiring process via the FPSC Integrating a Nurse in Practice Guide

If you have questions about nursing scope please connect with BCCNM.