Nurses have a responsibility to take action when they see unsafe practice or unprofessional conduct.
Each case is different and assessed 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 applicable, BCCNM tries to work consensually with nurses to establish voluntary risk mitigation - measures that will protect the public during the investigation period.
Common measures include the nurse agreeing to:
If a nurse 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.
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 all 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.
Generally, 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 information about making a complaint.
Under the Health Professions Act, Section 32.3, if a nurse (or any regulated health professional) 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 responsibility of the nurse caring for the client to make the report. It is the responsibility of the medical practitioner (or chief administrative officer, or someone working in that role) to report in writing to BCCNM.
You have an obligation under the HPA to address this type of practice by any health professional. Our resource Taking action on concerns about practice will help you identify and document behaviors of concern and decide what to do.