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Decisions and Outcomes
Condition or restriction, Reprimand
April 24, 2020
On April 24, 2020, the Complaints Committee of the Nova Scotia College of Nursing (NSCN) issued a decision regarding a complaint filed against Deborah Coleman RN, Registration 17392. The Committee ordered that Ms. Coleman receive a reprimand. The Committee ordered the reprimand pursuant to section 76(1)(e) of the Nursing Act and with Ms. Coleman’s consent.
The Complaints Committee also ordered a condition, pursuant to section 76(1)(f) that with Ms. Coleman’s consent, she would be required to make payment to NSCN, within two (2) years of the date of the decision, in the amount of $1,189.10.
In April 2019 Ms. Coleman contact NSCN and voluntarily disclosed that she had failed to renew her license to practice in November 2016, November 2017 and November 2018, and had practiced as a nurse for 331 days throughout the period in which she did not hold a license.
The Complaints Committee accepted that Ms. Coleman’s failure to license was an oversight and was not purposeful conduct. They also acknowledged her disclosure to, and cooperation with, the College throughout the regulatory process and the fact that Ms. Coleman had no professional conduct history with the College or its predecessor.
While recognizing these mitigating factors, the Complaints Committee also concluded that the length of time Ms. Coleman practiced nursing without a license, and the fact that she missed three consecutive opportunities to recognize this error and renew her license, created a serious risk to the public and the profession. The Committee concluded this would reasonably be seen to be professional misconduct.
Lapses in registration are significant, because they undermine the important role of the regulator and the efficacy of a professional register. A professional register is not simply a list. Instead, the purpose of the professional register is to assure the public, and employers, of the competence and suitability of the professionals thereon. In order to maintain public trust in self-regulated professions the regulator must be accurate in its representation of whom is qualified and permitted to practice. This require the cooperation of all registrants. Self regulation is a privilege, and nurses are expected to act as professionals, in their own conduct, and in dealings with their regulator
The condition for payment to NSCN represented the amount outstanding for the period in which Ms. Coleman practiced without a license. In addition to that amount, the Complaints Committee considered whether it was appropriate to order an additional condition pursuant to sections 76(1)(f) and 76(4) of the Nursing Act that Ms. Coleman be ordered, with her consent, to pay an amount to the College in contribution to the College’s costs in addressing this matter. Ultimately the Committee determined that in the circumstances of this particular case it was not necessary to seek costs from Ms. Coleman. The factors that weighed in favour of Ms. Coleman in reaching a decision on this point were the mitigating factor referenced above.
The Complaints Committee concluded that in all of the circumstances, a reprimand and the condition for payment were the appropriate outcomes.
On May 6, 2020 Ms. Coleman consented to the reprimand and condition.
Ms. Coleman has since satisfied the condition and it is no longer in effect.