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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.​