2 Introduction to Foot Care

In the average life time, we walk approximately one hundred and eighty-four thousand kilometres, more than four times the earth’s circumference!

Learning Outcomes

After completing this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss the historical perspective of foot care.
  • Identify the role of the Registered Nurse and Registered Practical Nurse in foot care.
  • Recognize the limitations beyond the scope of practice of foot care for Registered Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses and make appropriate referral.
  • Identify other providers of foot care and their scope of practice.

Learning Activities

  1. Review the learning outcomes and courseware readings for this unit.
  2. Examine the history and scope of practice of foot care for a registered nurse (RN) and registered practical nurse (RPN).
  3. Access the RNAO website and click on Nursing Best Practice Guidelines (BPG).
  4. Review the BPG, Client Centred Care.
    • Identify the important principles discussed in this document that are part of your current nursing practice.
    • Why is this important in nursing?
  5. Access the College of Nurses (CNO) website.
    • Read about their philosophy, guiding principles and available resources.
  6. Review the following documents:  (Check Library Foot Care Subject Guide: Unit 1)
    • Reference document: Legislation and Regulation RHPA: Scope of Practice, Controlled Acts Model. College of Nurses of Ontario.
    • College of Nurses of Ontario, 2004, An Introduction to the Nursing Act (1991). College of Nurses of Ontario.
    • Decisions About Procedures and Authority, Revised 2006 (CNO Practice Standard that replaces the CNO document “A Guide to Decide)

Scope of Practice

The role of the nurse in foot care:

  • To know the limits of your practice and when to refer to another foot care specialist or other practitioners. (i.e. another more experienced foot care nurse, chiropodist, podiatrist, physiotherapist, doctor or certified pedorthist).
  • To refer to your provincial nursing standards for clarification regarding scope of practice.
  • To acknowledge that your individual nursing practice is limited by your level of education, skill and experience.
  • To be knowledgeable about available health care providers in your community in order to facilitate a cross-referral system.
  • To provide client education as a fundamental and central component of foot care nursing.

Other Providers of Foot Care

Solidify your knowledge of care providers

Define – Chiropodist and Podiatrist (see link below)


Define- Pedorthist (see Roles in foot care chapter)


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Basic Foot Care for RNs and RPNs Copyright © by Sarah Lockbaum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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