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How Standards are Created

The Health Professions Act requires that standards of practice and a code of ethics be developed, enforced and maintained by the health profession's regulatory college. As one of the regulatory colleges in Alberta, the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) provides standards that set out expectations for registrants.

The CRNA's standards are developed and revised using best practices and a safety lens to protect and serve the public interest. Right-touch thinking means assessing the level of risk to the public and identifying an appropriate way to counter that risk. That includes asking if something needs to be regulated in the first place.

Standards could be identified for creation due to a:

  1. Government legislation requirement or change
  2. Emerging trends or issues within health care

Every year, documents are selected for review. This is to keep documents current, or withdraw them, when legislation or best practices change. The CRNA aims to review each document every five years.

Document Cycle

Every standard goes through three phases: assessment, consultation and approval.

Assessment Phase

A Right-touch approach determines whether standards are the most appropriate way to provide direction and guidance to registrants in their practice. Before standards are developed or revised, a robust assessment occurs. If it is an existing document, the CRNA will release a questionnaire survey that allows individuals to comment on its current use and offer other feedback. We review and consider the feedback received from the questionnaire to help either guide the revisions to the existing document or provide us with evidence to withdraw the document.

Consultation Phase

Standards are developed and revised based on consultation with:

  • The public
  • The Alberta Minister of Health
  • Other regulatory colleges
  • Employers
  • Key stakeholders
  • Registrants
  • CRNA departments

Each stakeholder can provide suggestions and comments on the document through a consultation survey. All feedback received is considered. Based on all evidence and the feedback received, the document may receive edits, or the document could be withdrawn.

Approval Phase

Before any new or revised standards of practice take effect, they are approved by Council. Standards that receive approval are distributed to registrants and made available to everyone.


The public has access to the standards that outline the expectation they should receive from registrants.