N.S. Nursing Regulator Releases New Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses

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June 24, 2020


(Halifax, N.S.): The Nova Scotia College of Nursing (NSCN) has released the Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses in Nova Scotia. The standard sets the legal and professional expectations for all nurses regarding sexual misconduct. 

NSCN developed the standard to reflect community discussions and the public’s zero tolerance attitude for sexual misconduct. It is also a way to continue upholding public safety and empowering the public, nurses and others to report sexual misconduct with the confidence in knowing that NSCN takes this matter seriously. A leader in nursing regulation, NSCN is only the second nursing regulator in Canada to develop a sexual misconduct standard for nurses. 

“In the nurse-client relationship, nurses hold a position of authority which means they are always accountable to maintain professional boundaries,” shares Sue Smith, NSCN CEO and Registrar. “The standard further clarifies this responsibility as well as helps nurses make appropriate decisions that are always in the best interest of the client.” 

The Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses is also a tool that further educates the public on what is considered acceptable conduct in a therapeutic nurse-client relationship. In addition, NSCN has produced a new How to Report Fact Sheet that provides guidance for the public, nurses and others on how to report sexual misconduct by a nurse, another regulated health care professional or unregulated care provider. 

“Nurses have always had a duty to report professional misconduct. However, the new standard states explicitly that nurses have a mandatory duty to report sexual misconduct if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the conduct of a regulated or unregulated health care provider constitutes sexual misconduct,” shares Sue Smith.  

The Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses was developed in collaboration with over 300 individuals representing the public, nurses, subject-matter-experts, unions, educators, employers and other key stakeholders as part of our public consultation. All stakeholders showed overwhelming support for this initiative and we thank them for their contributions. Visit the NSCN website for more information. 

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