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Can BCCNM suspend a nurse without investigation?

Each case is different and asse​​ssed on a case-by-case basis. ​​ Generally, BCCNM cannot suspend a nurse without an investigation. In extraordinary cases, BCCNM can, following a formal legal proceeding,  limit or suspend a nurse's practice during an investigation. This type of action is very serious and reserved for allegations of acute concern – when a nurse's reported conduct or practice poses an imminent and significant ongoing danger to the public.

When applica​​ble, BCCNM tries to work consensually with nurses to establish  voluntary risk mitigation - measures that will protect the public during the investigation period.

Common measu​​res include the nurse agreeing to:

  • Cease practice as a nurse and convert to non-practising status
  • Disclos​e details of the complaint to all current or new employers for the purpose of oversight
  • Limits and /or conditions on the scope or type of nursing practice
  • Enhanced supervision in the workplace
  • Counselling or medical monitoring

If a nurs​​e will not consent to the risk mitigation measures the Inquiry Committee believes are necessary, BCCNM ​​may proceed to seek extraordinary action. See how​ BCCNM​ resolves a complaint and professional conduct review process for more information.​

Am I protected from legal liability if I report another regulated health professional?

The Health Professions Act states no action for damages may be brought against a person for making a report in good faith where the person has a legal ​duty by their regulatory college to report. Nurses in a​ll positions and settings have a legal and ethical duty as outlined in the HPA ​to report incompetent or impaired practice, or unethical conduct of any regulated health professional.

​​​The Duty to Report practice standard​ gives more information and guidance about your legal and professional obligations.​​​​​​​

Can I make an anonymous complaint or report to BCCNM?

Gener​​ally, formal complaints or reports must be in writing and signed. During the Professional Conduct Review process, the reported nurse gets a copy of the complaint including the complainant's name.

If there is an immediate​ concern for public or personal safety, BCCNM may withhold a name or act on an anonymous complaint. More inform​ation about making a complaint.​

I work on a psychiatric unit. My client, a nurse, was admitted for a drug overdose and possible addiction. Should they be reported to BCCNM? If so, should I report them?

Und​er the Health Professions Act, Section 32.3, if a nurse (or any regulated health professio​​nal) is admitted for psychiatric care or treatment, or for treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs, they must be reported right away to the appropriate regulatory ​college.

It is not the responsib​​​​​ility of the nurse caring for the client to make the report. It is t​he responsibility of the medical practitioner (or chief administrative officer, or someone working in that role) to report in writing to BCCNM.​

What is my responsibility if I see unsafe, unethical or incompetent practice?

You ​have an obligation under the HPA ​to address this type of practice by any regulated ​health pro​fessional. Our resource Taking action on concerns about pr​actice will help you identify and document behaviors of concern and decide what to do.​

Relevant legislation​​

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Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

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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.​