Health Program

LPNs are fit to practise nursing when they have the physical, mental and emotional health required to provide safe, competent and ethical care. As self-regulating professionals, LPNs are responsible for maintaining their own fitness to practise and ensuring that they are practising only when they are fit to do so. It is only when a health condition impairs an LPN’s ability to practise nursing safely and competently that CLPNBC is required to intervene. 

It is inevitable that LPNs at some point in time during their nursing career will require treatment for a health condition. In the majority of cases, health concerns do not require intervention from CLPNBC in order to protect the public. It is mandatory to report to CLPNBC, however, when an LPN’s health concern or condition causes impairment that could jeopardize patient care, or when an LPN’s ability to self-identify that their ability to practise safely and competently is compromised. 

CLPNBC investigates health-related concerns when:

  • An LPN self-discloses that their health condition impairs their ability to practise safely and competently
  • A member of the public believes they have experienced or witnessed the impaired practice of an LPN 
  • Another regulated health professional believes the practice of an LPN is impaired and unsafe
  • An employer intervenes on the employment of an LPN staff member following the identification of impaired practice
  • An LPN is admitted to a hospital for psychiatric care or treatment, or is undergoing treatment for a substance use disorder, as physicians and other medical practitioners are required to submit a written report to CLPNBC

Managing risks through our Health Program

When CLPNBC receives a concern about suspected impaired practice, the matter follows the Professional Conduct Review Process. Whereas, when CLPNBC manages a health concern, staff ensure the LPN’s individual human rights and right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to their health are respected and maintained. 

Our Health Program promotes high standards of practice by providing LPNs with the opportunity to self-identify and report to CLPNBC when their health condition(s) has reached a point that their ability to practise is impaired. In these cases, LPNs demonstrate their professional accountability and responsibility by voluntarily removing themselves from practice without regulatory or disciplinary intervention by the Inquiry Committee.

Intake & Assessment

When CLPNBC receives a concern about an LPN’s health, our Fitness to Practice Advisor, or Inquiry & Discipline team, first assists the LPN or the person reporting the concern to determine whether the health concern or condition triggers the mandatory duty to report. The duty to report is only triggered if there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe the public might be at risk if the LPN continues practising. Our goal is to help work through those considerations and determine whether the LPN’s ability to provide safe and competent care has been compromised by a health condition.

You must report your concern to CLPNBC when you believe you or another LPN might put the public at risk by continuing to practise as a result of an impairment. Visit the Concerns about an LPN page to find out how this process works.

When we receive your concerns, we will do an initial assessment to determine what the best next steps are to mitigate the risk to public safety. The best mitigation of risk to the public is when an LPN self-identifies and discloses that she/he is not fit to practise and voluntarily removes herself/himself from practice while seeking treatment for the health condition. If the LPN doesn’t disclose a fitness to practise issue, the Inquiry Committee will consider whether it is necessary to take extraordinary action to protect the public during their investigation by suspending or placing limits or conditions on the LPN’s practice. More information on the Committee’s authority to take extraordinary action can be found in the Intake Stage of the Professional Conduct Review Process.

To discuss your concerns, contact the CLPNBC Fitness to Practice Advisor.

Review the Health Professions Act, for more information about health professionals’ duty to report. Duty to Report Practice Standards can be found here:

Where can LPNs find support?

CLPNBC regulates LPNs in the public interest, sets standards and acts if LPNs fail to meet these standards. CLPNBC’s role is to protect the public – not to advocate for, or support LPNs. When LPNs are struggling with fitness to practise issues, such as a mental health condition or substance use disorder, we advise them to contact the BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) Licensing, Education, Advocacy and Practice (LEAP) Program to find out if they are eligible for support and funding.

For more information regarding the role of CLPNBC, Associations and Unions, please click here.

Prevent, Detect and Intervene

Free education opportunities related to substance use disorders in nursing

Contact CLPNBC Fitness to Practice Advisor to find out how to submit concerns regarding your own health, or that of another LPN

For more about the other stages of the process click on the links below.

Investigation
Decision
Monitoring
Discipline