Health Intervention

LPNs are responsible for maintaining their own fitness to practise nursing. LPNs are considered unfit to practise nursing when they have a physical or mental problem, emotional disturbance, or an addiction, that impairs their ability to practise nursing safely and competently. All CLPNBC registrants, along with health professionals working with LPNs, have a legal and ethical duty to notify CLPNBC when an LPN has health conditions that may affect the quality of care the LPN provides to clients. CLPNBC is responsible for intervening when a registrant’s health could put the public at risk.

LPNs also have a legal and ethical duty to report the impaired practice of another health professional to the appropriate regulatory body when there is a good reason to believe that another health professional’s practice may pose a risk to the public.

Early Intervention Program

The Early Intervention Program provides LPNs with an opportunity to improve their health before it affects their ability to provide safe care and leads to an investigation into their practice. 

The goal of the new Early Intervention Program (EIP) is to prevent risks to public safety associated with an LPN’s health related concern (e.g., suffering from a mental problem, emotional disturbance, or an addiction to drugs or alcohol) that impairs the LPN’s ability to practise nursing safely and competently. EIP gives LPNs an opportunity to disclose health related concerns and to remove themselves from practice. EIP then monitors the health status of the LPN as the LPN seeks treatment for the impairment, and only permits the LPN to return to work when the LPN is fit to practise nursing. 

Employers, the public and other health professionals are encouraged to report to CLPNBC when they are concerned that an LPN has an impairment that could affect the LPN’s ability to provide safe, competent and ethical care. Many impairments can be adequately addressed through EIP. 

Public Safety is the Goal

Our Early Intervention Program helps us meet our mandate of regulating LPNs in the public interest because the program:

  • Confirms registrants are practising only when fit to do so
  • Requires registrants to remove themselves from practice before putting the public at risk by working while unfit
  • Protects the public from unsafe nursing practice
  • Ensures legislative reporting requirements are met
  • Ensures all medical treatment recommendations are fulfilled before returning to practice
  • Monitors registrants who have an impairment to ensure they maintain their fitness to practise nursing

Given the nature of the information collected in the Early Intervention Program, we are required to withhold public notification of:

  1. any action taken on the LPN's registration
  2. any information that could identify the LPN
  3. the LPN's personal health information related to the condition

Who is Eligible?

All CLPNBC registrants are eligible for the Early Intervention Program if they:
  1. self-report their health condition to CLPNBC
  2. acknowledge that they have failed to maintain their physical, psychological or emotional fitness to practise nursing, in accordance with the Professional Standards for LPNs
  3. remove themselves from nursing practice and seek medical treatment for the health condition
  4. did not put the public at risk by working while their practice was impaired by the condition

If CLPNBC receives a report from a third party about a registrant’s fitness to practise, the registrant may be considered for the program if:

  1. the registrant acknowledges the failure to maintain his or her physical, psychological and emotional fitness to practise, in accordance with the Professional Standards for LPNs
  2. the registrant acknowledges that the health condition has negatively affected his or her practice
  3. the third party report coincides with the registrant’s acknowledgement
  4. the third party agrees that the registrant’s entry into the program would satisfactorily resolve the concerns identified in the report

What Happens in the Program?

Once the LPN has removed himself or herself from practice, the LPN enters into a contract with CLPNBC. The contract states that the LPN:

  • consents to changing his or her CLPNBC registration status from practising to non-practising
  • attends an assessment by an appropriate medical specialist
  • attends any treatment required by the medical specialist
  • attends a re-assessment by the medical specialist after successful completion of the treatment
  • consents that information is shared directly between the medical specialist(s) and CLPNBC
  • returns to practice only after the Inquiry Committee has determined the LPN is fit to do so
  • adheres to all conditions/limitations imposed by the Inquiry Committee for his or her return to practice, including all recommendations by treating specialists 

Health Monitoring

When the LPN returns to practice, the LPN is required to consent to a period of continued health monitoring. During the health monitoring stage of the program, CLPNBC confirms that the LPN:

  1. continues to be medically fit to practise nursing
  2. complies with all treatment recommendations and medical monitoring
  3. continues to be overseen by the treating physician

Where Can LPNs Find Support?

When an LPN is referred into the Early Intervention Program, they are advised that they may be eligible for support and funding through the BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) Licensing, Education, Advocacy and Practice (LEAP) Program. For more information on the LEAP Program and the support available to LPNs, visit the BCNU website

 

If you or one of your LPN colleagues has a health condition, find out how the program can support you, or your colleague. By taking care of yourselves first, you will be able to continue providing safe care to your clients.

Questions?

Contact CLPNBC’s Fitness to Practice Advisor 

fitnesstopractice@clpnbc.org

Substance Use Disorders Educational Resources

Visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website to access FREE educational resources regarding Substance Use Disorders, including online courses, videos and journal articles.