Accountability of Managers: Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses

We developed this practice scenario to fact sheet to help managers of nurses understand what their accountabilities are related to the Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses.  

If you have any questions about the practice scenario, please reach out to us at practice@nscn.ca.

I am a manager of nurses and I am wondering what I need to know about the new sexual misconduct standard of practice for nurses?

Questions to reflect on: 

  1. Does the new standard apply to managers?
  2. What should managers do if they suspect sexual behaviours between a nurse and a client?
  3. What happens if a manager does not report sexual misconduct?

There are two standards within the Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses (2020)

  • Standard 1: Nurses must not engage in sexual misconduct.  
  • Standard 2: Nurses are required to report sexual misconduct if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the conduct of a regulated health care professional or an unregulated care provider constitutes sexual misconduct.

As a manager, you must take all concerns of sexual misconduct seriously. To maintain client and public safety, you must report to NSCN when you first suspect or have reasonable grounds to suspect sexual misconduct of a nurse. What is “reasonable grounds” will depend on the circumstances of the situation and will require an assessment of elements at hand.   

Additionally, the same duty to report applies to concerns of sexual misconduct of regulated health care professionals and unregulated care providers. Concerns about a regulated health profession must be reported to their regulatory body and concerns about an unregulated care provider must be reported to their employer.  While reporting is critical, you must also act to protect the client.

The duty to report is inherent in the Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses, which applies to all nurses in Nova Scotia regardless of their role. Managers who are regulated health professional other than a nurse may have similar duty to report from their regulatory body.

For nurse managers, failure to report the sexual misconduct of a nurse or other employee may result in a finding of professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming the profession. 

It is also important to remember that client consent is not a defense to an allegation of sexual misconduct even if a client initiates the sexual behaviour. The client’s inherent vulnerability and the power differential between the nurse and client means that sexual behaviour between a nurse and current or former vulnerable client is never appropriate. 

Click here for more information and practice support tools related to the Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice for Nurses.  For further information on anything contained within this practice scenario, contact a Practice Consultant at practice@nscn.ca. To report the sexual misconduct of a nurse, contact conduct@nscn.ca
 



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