Overview of the Professional Conduct Review Process
The professional conduct review process is a key component of ARNPEI's legisaltive mandate to protect the public. Section 24 of the RN Act gives authority for the appointment of a Professional Conduct Review (PCR) Committee to investigate and deal with complaints against nurse members. Section 25 of the RN Act authorizes any person to file a complaint against an ARNPEI member. Such complaints refer to allegations of professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming the profession of nursing, incompetence, incapability or lack of fitness to practice by a member, but the complaint need not refer specifically to any of these phrases.
What is professional misconduct?
Professional misconduct is defined in Section 1 of the RN Act and includes:
- engaging in the practice of an RN or NP while suspended
- engaging in the practice of an RN or NP while impaired or incapacitated
- doing any act that contravenes the RN Act, regulations, code of ethics, standards of practice
- failing to respond to or cooperate with the Executive Director, the Professional Conduct Review Committee or an investigator in relation to a complaint
- disclosing information without proper authorization or consent
- falsifying or concealing records directly or indirectly related to the provision of health services
- abusing a person verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually
What is conduct unbecoming the profession?
Conduct unbecoming the profession is not specifically defined in the PEI RN Act, however it generally relates to conduct in a nurse’s personal or private capacity that tends to bring discredit to the nursing profession. This includes behavior in one’s private or personal life which is inconsistent with the standard of integrity and professionalism expected of a registered nurse. Such conduct may adversely affect the nursing profession as a whole. If the conduct is such that knowledge of it would be likely to impair future clients’ trust in the nurse, ARNPEI may be justified in taking disciplinary action. Some examples of behaviour, which could be categorized as conduct unbecoming the profession (as outlined by the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia) are described below:
- Committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the nurse’ integrity or fitness as a nurse, such as offences related to the illegal sale of controlled drugs and substances.
- Providing unauthorized medications or treatments to former clients or family members.
- Using public social media platforms in a way that does not uphold public trust in the nursing profession. Examples could include posting comments that provide inaccurate information on treatments or medication or publically posting disparaging comments about colleagues.