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Complaints and Concerns

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What We Do

The CRNNS regulates registered nursing practice in the best interests of the public. One way we do this is to review, and if required, take action to address, complaints we receive about the conduct, competence, health or behaviour of RNs and NPs licenced to practice in our province.

Upholding Practice Standards and the Code of Ethics

Registered nurses and nurse practitioners are required to have the knowledge, skills, judgment, good health and good character to do their job safely and effectively.

We require that all licenced RNs and NPs in Nova Scotia adhere to standards for nursing practice and a code of ethics. Each RN and NP licenced to practice nursing in our province is required by CRNNS to renew their licence every year demonstrating that they are qualified to practice safely, competently, ethically, and compassionately.

We have the authority to investigate if an allegation is made that an RN or an NP does not meet our standards for conduct, competence, health or behaviour. If necessary, we can place limitations on the licence of an RN or NP or, in serious situations, remove them from practice.

Complaints against an RN or NP

As a regulator, we are responsible to make sure that registered nurses and nurse practitioners are meeting the standards and Code of Ethics. While patients and members of the public are not responsible to determine if a nurse is safe and competent to practice, they can file a complaint with CRNNS if they feel public and/or patient safety are at risk.

If we receive a complaint about the conduct, competence, health or behaviour of an RN or NP, we will review the allegations to determine if we need to investigate whether or not the nurse has met the standards expected of her/him. In serious situations, we are able to take immediate action to remove a nurse from practice in order to protect the public.

We are able to investigate various allegations including:

  • Professional misconduct
  • Incompetence
  • Serious ill health (Incapacity)
  • Conduct unbecoming the profession
  • Criminal behaviour

Concerns not involving registered nurses or nurse practitioners

CRNNS is the regulatory body for registered nurses and nurse practitioners. If you have a complaint about a member of the healthcare team that is not about an RN or NP, you will need to contact the appropriate organization to raise your concern. Like nursing, those vocations that are regulated will have a regulatory body for you to contact with their own protocols and procedures in place.

We are also not responsible for regulating hospitals, nursing homes or other health care settings. If you have a concern about a health organization, you should contact that organization directly.

Our Role

Our role is to regulate registered nursing practice in the best interests of the public, which gives us the responsibility and authority to protect the public if nursing standards are not upheld.

It is not our role as a regulator to simply punish RNs and NPs for poor practice. We strive to identify the root causes of poor practice and implement supports that improve practice with public protection as our top priority.

We believe that ensuring the public receives safe and quality nursing care is a shared responsibility amongst individual RNs, NPs, nursing employers, and CRNNS. We all share the goal of ensuring that RNs and NPs are competent to practice nursing in Nova Scotia and that they remain competent to do so.

Our Customer Service Commitment

You can expect that we will treat you and your concerns with respect and courtesy while maintaining a confidential professional conduct process where all parties are treated fairly. We pride ourselves on finding new ways to improve our processes and are always open to receiving feedback and recommendations that allow us to do so.