B.C.'s College of Registered Nurses will continue to encourage its members to seek legal advice before participating in physician-assisted dying procedures, despite a call from at least one doctor to allow nurses to help.

An Alberta court ruled on March 1 that Ms. S, whose identity has been concealed to protect her privacy, would be allowed to end her life because she met certain criteria for legal exemption set by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015.

The B.C. doctor who helped Ms. S end her life told CBC News that she had nurses who were willing to help her, but they wouldn't because the college discouraged them from doing so.

In response, the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. says it is simply following the law.

"Given that the Criminal Code is still in place, what we have recommended nurses to do is consider their options and seek out independent legal advice before participating," said Cynthia Johansen, CEO of the college.

Canada's highest court has given the government until June 6 to draft legislation on assisted dying.

Johansen says the college will be ready to provide nurses with rules about assisted dying when the law changes.

"When — and I expect it will — the legislation does change, the college will absolutely be ready to issue standards and guidelines to support a nurse's role," she said.

"But at this stage, we don't have clarity and so we have to be very cautious about how we guide people."

She is hopeful that any new legislation on physician-assisted dying will include mention of nurses, not just physicians.

With files from CBC Radio's The Early Edition


To listen tot he full interview, click the link labelled: B.C. nurses won't get guidelines for assisted dying, yet.