Unlike health and competence, there is no mandatory requirement to make a complaint about a nurse's conduct. However, there is an obligation to make a complaint if the nurse’s alleged conduct involves public safety.
Complaints must be in writing to the Registrar. You will find the Concerns about a Nurse form in the Downloads on this page.
Complaints of a serious professional nature are investigated and considered by professional conduct committees (PCCs), who decide whether to refer the complaint to the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal or whether no further disciplinary action is required.
PCCs can also recommend:
- reviewing a nurse's competence or health
- including conditions in a nurse's cope of practice
- sending a letter of counsel (education letter) to the nurse.
Court registrars are required to send a notice of conviction to the Council when a nurse has been convicted of an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for a term of 3 months or longer, or for other offences listed in the Act. These convictions must be referred to a PCC.
The Council has appointed a PCC to consider these convictions. This PCC meets every 3–4 months to ensure that these convictions are considered in a timely manner.
These nurses are invited to attend a meeting to provide a response to their conviction.
If the Council has reason to believe that the nurse has a health condition that may have led to the conviction, the Council may refer the nurse for a review of their health instead of a PCC.
Practising without a practising certificate
Nurses who have practised without a practising certificate for a significant period of time and who have failed to provide a reasonable explanation for the lapse may be referred to a PCC. Nurses are invited to attend a meeting or to provide a written explanation for the lapse.
Practising outside scope of practice
Nurses who are alleged to have practised outside their scope of practice may be referred to a PCC.
PCCs may also consider nurses who have failed to comply with any conditions included in their scope of practice. These conditions may have been included following an order of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal or the Health Committee.
Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal
Charges of professional misconduct or of having received a conviction that may reflect adversely on their fitness to practise are brought against a nurse and heard before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, which is a separate tribunal. The Tribunal's website provides a guide to disciplinary proceedings and summaries of its decisions.