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Working with Limited Resources Toolkit

NANB receives calls from time to time from nurses who are concerned about loosing their licence because of staffing challenges. Whether you are short staffed, working overtime, or floating to an unfamiliar unit, all these situations can challenge your ability to provide safe, competent, compassionate, and ethical care.

NANB cannot say that a nurse will never have a complaint filed against them secondary to working short staffed as each situation is unique. When faced with a difficult situation, it is expected that nurses maintain their level of professional practice by

  • maintaining professionalism;
  • using your professional knowledge and judgment;
  • accepting accountability and taking action to ensure fitness to practice;
  • promptly communicating unsafe situations to supervisors/managers, and any treatment-related risks to the primary care provider;
  • providing the best possible care by assessing and prioritizing client care needs and collaborating and delegating to others;
  • documenting patient safety concerns; and
  • proposing solutions to promote safe, ethical, and compassionate care.

In doing these things you are practicing according to your standards and the code of ethics. A nurse should not lose their licence if they are being professional and reasonably doing everything they can to meet their professional responsibilities when working in a difficult situation.

NANB has several resources to help inform nurses of their accountabilities when working with limited resources:

The Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS) also has resources available for nurses that are working with limited resources: Professional Liability During the Shortage and Reduced Resources and Liability Risks.  Any questions related to professional liability protection should be directed to CNPS.

Nurses are encouraged to contact a nurse consultant at if additional guidance is required when practicing with limited resources.