BC nurse reprimanded for interrupting First Nation smudging ceremony

Nurse interrupted ceremony

The B.C. College of Nurses & Midwives has reprimanded a Trail nurse who entered a patient’s room while an Indigenous smudging ceremony was taking place.

On March 9, a college inquiry committee approved a consent agreement between the nurse and the college to address issues from January 2021.

The agreement said the nurse, as a residential care coordinator in a leadership position, didn’t conduct herself in a culturally sensitive manner by not supporting the patient and their family’s wishes to perform smudging ceremonies.

“The door to the resident's room was closed and had a sign that said ‘ceremony in progress, please do not disturb,’” the college said, noting the nurse entered the room.

In its notice, the college also said the nurse didn’t ensure an up-to-date end-of-life plan was in place for the patient, who had complex symptom management requirements.

The nurse voluntarily agreed to terms equivalent to a limit and/or condition on their practice, including a reprimand for the conduct and remedial education related to cultural safety and humility, ethics, sensitivity training, communication and professional standards.

“The inquiry committee is satisfied that the terms will protect the public,” the college said.

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