Professional disciplinary reasons must set out the professional standard violated

Professional disciplinary reasons must set out the professional standard violated

A professional disciplinary panel that finds a professional guilty of violating a professional standard must, in its reasons for decision, identify the standard breached or otherwise explain why conduct has fallen below a professional standard of practice. Failure to provide sufficient reasons may render the decision unreasonable.

Insufficiency of reasons is illustrated by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturning a regulatory finding that a licensed practical nurse violated the applicable Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics by failing to report a patient’s concern, based on her being required to report “any circumstances that are out of the ordinary.” The reasons for her guilt were insufficient, as they did not link the nurse’s failure to report to any specific standards or code provisions, and did not explain why her conduct fell below an acceptable standard of practice. The reasons were not reasonable as they would not guide a licensed practical nurse in determining when a report is required, and when a failure to report an incident will result in a charge of professional misconduct.

Walsh v. Council for Licensed Practical Nurses, 2010 NLCA 11, February 18, 2010.