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Am I a nurse 24/7?

Off-duty conduct snapshots

​ ​As a nurse, your actions have consequences. At work you’re responsible for acting professionally and being accountable for your practice. But how does this professional responsibility translate to your life outside of work? Are you a nurse 24/7? Keep reading to find out.


Scenario: Social media

Nikki’s personal Twitter profile identifies her as a nurse. In a response to a tweet, Nikki posts a series of racist and derogatory comments, which are retweeted by others. A member of the public, shocked and upset by Nikki's comments, contacts the college.

What's the problem?

Even though this situation occurred outside of the nurses’ practice and is not directly related to their work, their actions have the potential to negatively impact both the public’s perception of them and trust in the nursing profession. This behaviour could be considered “unprofessional conduct” under the Health Professions Act.

Unprofessional conduct includes unacceptable behaviour that takes place outside your nursing practice.

What is your responsibility as a nurse?

Since everyone's life is unique, there are no simple rules to follow. It’s common for people in our social networks to know what we do for a living​. You’re encouraged to use your best judgment and carefully consider any behaviour that may impact your personal and professional image. 

While you may think what occurs outside of work is your personal business, you need to be aware of your behavior and how it can affect your professional reputation. That said, unprofessional conduct is something of which you need to be aware.

What is BCCNM's role?

Many nurses believe that their regulator is only concerned with nurses’ professional duties while on the job. This is not accurate. The regulator can take action against a registrant for unprofessional behaviour. This includes activities that violate the “fitness to practice” and “good character” registration requirements, which allow discipline for a variety of activities in a registrant’s professional or private life or involving their personal conduct. 

The college is not concerned with a nurse’s private life or extra-professional activities that do not question the nurse’s professional integrity or competence.

BCCNM exists to protect the public. We recognize that it’s not appropriate to regulate and discipline all conduct that occurs outside your nursing practice. However, if your conduct threatens the public or their perception of the profession, the college is justified in investigating. This can lead to a finding of unprofessional conduct with consequences determined on a case-by-case basis by BCCNM.

Want to learn more?

Take a look at the professional conduct review process overview.

Unprofessional behaviour related complaints:

  • Posting to social media videos of vulnerable client
  • Sending unprofessional messages on social media
  • Disseminating anti-vaccine information

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