When the Complaints Committee believes that a complaint warrants a hearing, this committee can refer the complaint to the Professional Conduct Committee.
Understanding the Process
Complaints are typically referred to the Professional Conduct Committee where the nurse’s alleged misconduct is serious or when there is conflicting evidence and the Complaints Committee determines that a hearing is required. The Professional Conduct Committee is an independent decision making body made up of public members and nurses. Click here for more information on this committee.
When a complaint is brought to this committee, it can be resolved either through a:
- Settlement Agreement: we make every effort to resolve an issue through a settlement agreement. Among other things, a settlement agreement sets out the background facts and the agreed upon outcome for resolving the issue. A settlement agreement must be approved by the committee.
- Professional Conduct Hearing: if the complaint cannot be resolved by a settlement agreement, it will proceed to a hearing. A hearing is usually a public process where witnesses attend to give evidence and documents are submitted. The evidence is evaluated by the Professional Conduct Committee to determine whether the nurse has engaged in professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming the profession, incompetence, or suffered from an incapacity. A hearing is similar to a trial.
Possible Outcomes after a Hearing
The Professional Conduct Committee has the authority to make findings about a nurse’s conduct, competence or health and determine an appropriate outcome.
If the Professional Conduct Committee determines that the nurse did not engage in professional misconduct, incompetence, or conduct unbecoming the profession, or did not suffer from an incapacity, the matter will be dismissed.
If the Professional Conduct Committee determines that the nurse did engage in professional misconduct, incompetence, or conduct unbecoming the profession, or suffered from an incapacity, the committee may impose one or more outcomes which may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Issue a reprimand with the consent of the nurse: this option constitutes a licensing sanction.
- Impose conditions or restrictions on the nurse’s licence or registration with the consent of the nurse: this option also constitutes a licensing sanction.
- Require the nurse to complete education: the nurse may be required to complete education to close gaps in their knowledge and/or practice.
- Issue a fine to the nurse: the nurse may be required to pay a sum of money to the College.
- Suspend the nurse’s licence: this option constitutes a licensing sanction. Suspensions are temporary, and the committee decides the length of the suspension.
- Revoke the nurse’s licence and/or registration: this option constitutes a licensing sanction. The committee will specify if the nurse is permitted to reapply for their license and/or registration, and if so, how long the nurse must wait before reapplying.
Suspending a licence or revoking registration are reserved for situations when a nurse engages in the most serious misconduct or repeated misconduct.
NSCN has established, through policy, a position statement regarding the disposition of matters before the Professional Conduct Committee involving sexual misconduct. This statement may be found here.
Will I be Notified of the Committee’s Decision?
In most cases, the Professional Conduct Committee may direct the CEO to provide a copy or a summary of the written decision to the person who submitted the complaint, the nurse named in the complaint or to anyone else. In most cases, the full decision or a summary of the decision, must be published on the NSCN website. Click here for a full list of published summaries and decisions.
Is the Committee’s Decision Final?
Yes. The Professional Conduct Committee’s decision is final and there is no review or appeal process available within NSCN. For information on any potential options external to NSCN you may wish to seek legal advice.
If you have any questions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an organization, we uphold public trust by being accountable and transparent. One of the ways we do this is by sharing a general overview of our conduct processes in a way that everyone can understand. Due to the nature of this work however, these processes can be complex and there are ultimately a number of factors that determine the best course of action to promote the public interest. The material presented in this website is general information only, and is not legal advice. If there is any inconsistency between this information and the Nursing Act, regulations and bylaws, the legislation prevails. As a result, it is best to contact a member of our team, your legal counsel or a union representative to ensure you fully understand the information presented on our website and within the Nursing Act, regulations, and bylaws.