After receiving a written complaint, BCCNP investigates the allegations. The nature of an investigation depends on the allegations. Common investigative steps include:
How BCCNP resolves complaints. Click enlarge and download PDF.
The nurse is provided with an opportunity to review the evidence and respond to the allegations. This provision is required by law. In most cases, the complainant is then given the opportunity to review and comment on the nurse’s response to the complaint.
Investigations are overseen by the Inquiry Committee, an independent decision-making committee made up of registered nurses and members of the public.
Investigations are often complex and delays are common while BCCNP seeks relevant information from third parties, such as medical documentation. Investigations may take longer than 12 months to complete. The law requires BCCNP to update complainants on the status of the investigation at certain intervals. Complainants and registrants are encouraged to contact BCCNP with questions during the investigation.
Taking part in an investigation is often uncomfortable for all those involved. However, the process is not intended to be punitive. An investigation is a neutral information-gathering process. Nurses under investigation have an obligation to engage in the information-gathering process. We encourage nurses to seek legal help for the matter under investigation.
Being subject to investigation by BCCNP is integral to the privilege of belonging to a self-regulated profession.
If required under your insurance policy, notify your insurer.
After the necessary information is obtained by BCCNP, the Inquiry Committee reviews the information to determine if the nurse’s conduct or competence appears unsatisfactory or if the nurse likely has a health ailment that impairs his/her ability to practise.
Following this review, the Inquiry Committee may take one of the following steps:
request the nurse agree to complete remedial measures to mitigate any demonstrated risk posed to the public. Measures may include (but are not limited to) education, counselling, health monitoring, supervision in the workplace, or a limit on the type of work the nurse can do; or
By law, the Inquiry Committee cannot impose remedial or disciplinary measures on a nurse or make findings of fact. The matter may be required to proceed to a discipline hearing if:
Inquiry Committee outcomes are subject to review by the Health Professions Review Board.
A discipline hearing is usually a public process in which witness testimony and documented evidence are evaluated by the Discipline Committee. Similar to the Inquiry Committee, the Discipline Committee is an independent decision-making body made up of nurses and the public. Unlike the Inquiry Committee, the Discipline Committee is authorized to make factual findings about the nurse’s conduct, competence or health, and impose an appropriate outcome. Outcomes from a disciplinary hearing can range from no further action being taken to suspension or cancellation of registration. Suspension and cancellation of registration is reserved for significant competence and conduct issues.
Discipline Committee decisions are subject to review by the British Columbia Supreme Court.