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Duty to Report

Nurses have a responsibility to take action when they see unsafe practice or unprofessional conduct.

Case studies



Can BCCNP suspend a nurse without investigation?

Each case is different.  Generally, BCCNP cannot suspend a nurse without an investigation. In extraordinary cases, BCCNP 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, BCCNP 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:

  • Cease practice as a nurse and convert to non-practising status
  • Disclose 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 nurse will not consent to the risk mitigation measures the Inquiry Committee believes are necessary, BCCNP may proceed to seek extraordinary action. See how BCCNP 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 the college to report. Nurses in all positions and settings have a legal and ethical duty 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 BCCNP?

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, BCCNP may withhold a name or act on an anonymous complaint. More information 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 BCCNP? If so, should I report them?

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 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 BCCNP.


Practice Standard