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First Nations and Inuit Health

Clinical Practice Guidelines for Nurses in Primary Care

Health Canada is in the process of updating the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Nurses in Primary Care. Updated chapters will be published to the web as they are finalized and approved.

The Clinical Practice Guidelines have been prepared by Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) for use by community health nurses employed by Health Canada providing primary care in isolated, semi-isolated, and remote First Nations communities. While the Guidelines may be referred to by persons who are not employed by Health Canada, Health Canada takes no responsibility for any use of these guidelines other than by community health nurses employed by Health Canada and for their intended purposes.

These guidelines contain information to assist in the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of illness and other health issues in a primary care setting and may be used for reference and education purposes. The guidelines do not delineate the legal scope of practice of nurses. They are not intended to constitute a comprehensive, authoritative text and should under no circumstances be used as a substitute for clinical judgment or for consultation with other health care professionals. Nurses must seek the medical advice of a physician by telephone, electronically, or by other means in cases where the condition of a client is beyond the scope of practice and expertise of the nursing team to manage autonomously.

These guidelines have been developed in consultation with health care professionals and efforts have been made to ensure that they accurately reflect current best practice standards for culturally acceptable delivery of primary health care by community health nurses. However, as health practice standards are continually evolving, nurses are encouraged to perform independent research and to consult other publications, manuals, and peer-reviewed research to ensure their practice continues to be informed by the best available clinical evidence and research. The use of evidence-based practices not currently included in the FNIHB guidelines require consultation with a physician or a nurse practitioner.

In situations where information in the FNIHB guidelines differs from local common medical practice and/or directives in a particular region or zone, the nurse should inform the regional nursing leadership, who may initiate a review process to consider their potential inclusion in the guidelines.

The FNIHB Clinical Practice Guidelines should be read in concert with the FNIHB Drug Classification System and formulary, which provides additional guidance on safe pharmacotherapeutic options.

The guidelines are divided into two sections:

Additional information is available for health professionals on Antibiotic Resistance Awareness.