Nursing student roles and responsibilities

As described in the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) practice Standard, Supporting Learners (2009) students will: 

  • Respect the safety and well-being of the clients in the learning experience
  • Recognize her/his knowledge, skills and judgment, limits of responsibilities, legislative authority and supervision requirements
  • Contribute to the development of objectives for the experience
  • Understand and clarify her/his role in the provision of care with the educator/preceptor
  • Use clear, accurate and effective communication skills in professional interactions
  • Identify the need for, and acts to obtain,appropriate supervision
  • Be aware of her/his responsibility to notify the educator if she or he is not achieving objectives due to the setting and/or preceptor relationship
  • Be accountable for the quality of care she/he provides within the established objectives
  • Become familiar with and follows the agency’s policies, procedures and principles

Nursing students are permitted to perform controlled acts authorized to nursing if they meet all three criteria:

  • Have been taught by their faculty, preceptor or Nurse Educator 
  • Have the knowledge, skill and judgment to perform them as determined by their preceptor or faculty member 
  • Are supervised by a member of the nursing staff at Osler or their faculty member

Students are NOT permitted to:

  • Perform delegated medical acts 
  • Act as a witness under any circumstances or for any purpose 
  • Provide second signature/check for controlled drugs, blood products, breastmilk, and medications listed as requiring independent double checking, double signing and documentation 
  • Provide telephone advice for discharged families 
  • Perform controlled acts without close supervision by an RN 
  • Take verbal or telephone orders 
  • Be left in sole charge of the unit or any patient 
  • Transport patients alone when the presence of an RN is required

Contact information

For further information, or to ask a question, please email

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