The complaints and discipline process of the Association usually begins when the Registrar receives a complaint regarding a LPN member. The process may also begin if the Registrar or Board of Directors has reason to believe that the conduct or actions of a LPN member may constitute misconduct, incompetence, or incapacity. A letter is sent to the complainant (the person who submitted the complaint) verifying receipt of their letter of complaint and informing them that an investigation will begin.
When the Association receives a complaint, it is immediately forwarded to the Complaints Committee. The Complaints Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors and is composed four active members and one person who has never been a Licensed Practical Nurse. The Committee must determine the validity and the extent of the complaint by investigating whether the conduct or actions described in the complaint may constitute misconduct, incapacity, or incompetence. The Committee often conducts an initial review of the matter and takes the necessary steps to determine the facts of the complaint. If the Complaints Committee begins investigating the conduct or actions of a member, the member being investigated will be notified in writing that the complaint has been received and that an investigation is taking place. The Complaints Committee will also inform the member that he/she may provide a written submission to the Committee responding to the allegations against them.
When the Complaints Committee has finished investigating a matter it may:
- dismiss the complaint;
- give the member a warning;
- require the member to complete certain conditions; and/or
- refer the matter to the Discipline and Fitness to Practise Committee.
The member will be informed, in writing, of the Complaints Committee’s decision.
If the Complaints Committee refers a matter to the Discipline and Fitness to Practice Committee (“Discipline Committee”) and the Board of Directors believes that the member may pose a danger to the public, the LPN’s license may be revoked or restricted until a disciplinary hearing has occurred. The LPN will be informed of a suspension of their license or restrictions on their ability to practice.
If the Complaints Committee refers a matter to the Discipline Committee, the Discipline Committee will hold a hearing regarding the complaint made against the LPN. The Discipline Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors and is composed of four active members of the Association and one person who has never been a Licensed Practical Nurse. The member who is the subject of the complaint will be notified in writing of the date, time, and location of the hearing. The member will also be informed that he/she may have counsel (a lawyer or a union representative) present at the hearing and that the hearing may still take place even if the member chooses not to attend.
At a Discipline hearing, the Discipline Committee listens to the evidence presented. After hearing all evidence, the Discipline Committee makes a determination as to whether the allegation(s) have been proven and, if so, whether the member’s conduct amounts to a finding of professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming the profession, incompetence and/or incapacity. If the Committee makes one or more of the above findings, the Discipline Committee must then decide on appropriate disciplinary action.
The Association also responds to concerns regarding a LPN’s physical or mental health and if it is affecting, or could affect, his/her ability to practice.
If the Discipline Committee finds the member guilty of professional misconduct, they may do any, or a combination of, the following:
- reprimand the member;
- impose a fine on the member;
- direct the Registrar to impose certain terms, limits, or conditions on the member’s registration for a certain period of time or until certain conditions are met;
- direct the Registrar to suspend the member’s registration for a specified time or until certain conditions are met, such as taking courses, or undergoing evaluations and/or assessments;
- direct the Registrar to revoke the member’s registration; and/or make any other order that the Committee considers appropriate in the circumstances.
A party may appeal the decision made by the Discipline and Fitness to Practice Committee. If a party wishes to launch an appeal, the appeal must be commenced within thirty days following the date of the decision by the Discipline and Fitness to Practice Committee.
Further information on the Professional Conduct Process can be found in the Licensed Practical Nurses Act. In the event there is any conflict between this information and the Act, the latter shall prevail. If you have any questions after reading this information, please contact the Association (506) 453-0747.