Skip to main content

Resolving professional practice concerns

Using a collaborative approach

​BCCNM encourages a collaborative approach to resolving professional practice concerns. The goal is safe, competent and ethical care for clients.

What is a professional practice concern?

It’s any concern or situation that:

  • Puts clients at risk 
  • interferes with meeting BCCNM’s Standards of Practice, workplace guidelines and policies, or other clinical standards

What are your responsibilities?

Nurses and employers have responsibilities in the workplace.


  • Meet Standards of Practice.
  • Take action when concerns impact client care.
  • Communicate and collaborate with employers to resolve concerns.


  • Examine situations and work with nurses to resolve concerns, once they have been informed about them.
  • Provide resources and support so that nurses can meet the Standards of Practice.

Consider the concern

The first step to resolve a concern is to clarify the nature of the concern and how best to approach it.

Ask yourself:

  • How does the concern put clients at risk? What specific examples can I give? 
  • How does the concern conflict with BCCNM's Standards of Practice and/or my workplace guidelines and policies?

Communicate the concern

Now that you have clarified the concern, communicate it. Start with verbal communication.

Verbal communication

  • Ask your manager for a meeting to discuss the concern.
  • Explain how the concern puts clients at risk and conflicts with BCCNM’s Standards of Practice or workplace guidelines and policies.  
  • Be specific, factual, include all relevant information, and respect client confidentiality. 
  • Listen with an open mind to your manager’s perspective and pay attention to any new information the manager provides. 
  • Be prepared to work together to resolve the concern, recognizing that some negotiation and compromise may be necessary. 
  • Work together to confirm the next steps.

After your meeting, follow up in writing with your manager. Send your manager a summary of what was discussed, the response received, and the next steps you agreed upon.

Written communication

Clearly and concisely document your communication. Keep a personal record of all correspondence.

  • Treat all documentation as confidential. 
  • Use a workplace form, letter or, memo and send in a secure manner. 
  • Include your manager’s name and title in this formal communication.
  • Start with a general opening statement such as: “This is a follow up to our discussion of ...”.
  • Describe the concern: date, time, place, who was involved (use initials for names), what happened, how it affected clients, what specific.
  • Cite the standards reviewed and referenced.
  • Include possible solutions.
  • Ask for confirmation that the correspondence has been received and request a response by a specific date, allowing a reasonable amount of time for progress to occur.

Resolution is not always immediate

Continue to work within the system to improve client care.

  • If you do not hear back by the specified date, follow up with your manager (“What is happening with the concern?”).
  • If the concern has not been addressed, send a second memo or letter to the same person, re-state the concern, include any new information, attach the first correspondence, and request assurance that the concern will be addressed. 
  • Your manager may not be able to resolve the concern. Be prepared to take your concerns to the next level of management. 
  • You may work with your manager to take the concern to the next level or you may take the issue forward yourself, advising the manager of your plan. 
  • If you are not getting the response you need from your manager, take your concern to their manager or possibly a program director, and follow up with written documentation.

​​Need help or support?​

For further guidance on understanding and applying the standards of practice, contact our team by completing the Standards Support intake form.​

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only) ​

We acknowledge the rights and title of the First Nations on whose collective unceded territories encompass the land base colonially known as British Columbia. We give specific thanks to the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking Peoples the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), on whose unceded territories BCCNM’s office is located. We also give thanks for the medicines of these territories and recognize that laws, governance, and health systems tied to these lands and waters have existed here for over 9000 years.

We also acknowledge the unique and distinct rights, including rights to health and wellness, of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from elsewhere in Canada who now live in British Columbia. As leaders in the settler health system, we acknowledge our responsibilities to these rights under international, national, and provincial law.​