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Each investigation is reviewed to determine whether the complaint should be forwarded to a professional conduct committee for further action and/or decision. Our professional conduct committees are composed of RNs, NPs and members of the public. Each committee has a specific role in the professional conduct process.

When a committee has determined that action must be taken against the behavior of an RN or NP, there are a number of sanctions they can impose. Sanctions are never intended to punish RNs or NPs and are only imposed to uphold the established standards of nursing practice in order to:

  1. Ensure the best interests of the public are being met
  2. Preserve the integrity of the nursing profession,
  3. Maintain public confidence in the ability of the nursing profession to regulate itself.

Complaints Committee

The Complaints Committee, made up of RNs, NPS and members of the public review all complaints not resolved by the CEO/Registrar and dispose of them in accordance with the Regulations. A panel of the Complaints Committee comprised of two nurses and one public representative acts as a screening committee by resolving less serious complaints and referring serious allegations of misconduct, incompetence, ill health or conduct unbecoming the profession to the Professional Conduct Committee. The Complaints Committee has the authority to:

  • Dismiss the complaint;
  • Informally resolve the complaint
  • Issue a non-disciplinary warning (counsel and/or caution) to the RN or NP who is the source of the complaint
  • Request that the nurse consent to a reprimand and/or conditions and restrictions, which conssitute a licensing sanction
  • Refer the matter to a Professional Conduct Committee for a formal hearing

Professional Conduct Committee

The Professional Conduct Committee conducts formal hearings into the allegations referred to it by the Complaints Committee. A panel of the Professional Conduct Committee, made up of three RNs/NPs and two members of the public, hears evidence to determine whether one or more of the allegations against a nurse can be proven true, and if so, whether such proof amounts to a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence, incapacity and/or conduct unbecoming the profession. If the Committee makes one or more of these findings, the Committee must then decide on the appropriate licencing sanction, which can include:

  • A reprimand
  • A suspension of the nurse’s licence for a period of time
  • Conditions on the nurse’s licence to complete remedial education or health treatment
  • Restrictions on the nurse’s licence from practicing in certain practise areas
  • Revocation of the nurse’s licence and membership from the CRNNS

Fitness to Practice Committee

The Fitness to Practise Committee determines whether an RN or NP is suffering from a medical, physical, mental or emotional condition, disorder or addiction that is affecting or could affect his or her nursing practice. The Committee, in a non-disciplinary manner, determines what action may be necessary to protect the public when the nurse wishes to return to nursing practice and may impose conditions and restrictions on the nurse’s licence.