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Duty to report: narcotic diversion and substance use impairing practice

BCCNM's public  protection mandate and how you can help

BCCNM can only act when we receive a report

BCCNM's mandate is to serve and protect the public. BCCNM protects clients by controlling the registration privileges of nurses and midwives across B.C., but we can only act when we are informed in writing of a problem. Your complaint cannot be anonymous; it must include your name, address and contact information.

When are reports to BCCNM about substance use mandatory?

A nurse’s employer, and colleagues regulated under the Health Professions Act, must report to the regulator when there:

  • is evidence a nurse diverted narcotics
  • are clear, witnessed signs a nurse is impaired at work

An employer must report to the regulator when terminating a nurse’s employment if they have reason to believe the nurse’s practice is a danger to clients.

BCCNM's authority

When appropriate, BCCNM has the authority to control a nurse’s ability to practise in B.C. based on a careful review of the evidence. The employer controls a nurse’s ability to practise in the employment setting. Together, we can ensure that impairment or drug diversion in the workplace is recognized, reported, and intervened in as soon as possible.

Along with reporting to BCCNM, the appropriate person or office in the organization should already be informed of the matter and be taking action.

What should I do if I think a nurse might have a substance use disorder?

If you have reason to believe a nurse is diverting narcotics, or attending work impaired, report the concern to the nurse’s supervisor. The supervisor will report the concern to BCCNM,

If you recognize this behaviour in yourself, seek professional help. There are resources available such as your primary care provider, employee assistance program, union, employer’s occupational health nurse or disability management office and mental health/addiction counselors.

If you have questions or would like to speak to a BCCNM​ staff member, contact our team by completing the Standards Support intake form​​​.

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