An investigation is a process to find out the details or facts behind a complaint. The investigation process is managed by the Complaints Director who regularly updates the complainant on the status of the investigation.
The Complaints Director determines the scope of the investigation and assigns an Investigator to conduct an objective investigation. The investigation is not limited to the information in the complaint. The Investigator may investigate any other matter that could be considered unprofessional conduct. The investigator will:
- Interview the complainant to obtain details of their concerns and collect relevant documentation such as patient records, policies and procedures.
- Interview witnesses with first-hand knowledge of what happened. Witnesses may be identified by the complainant, investigated nurse or other witnesses.
- Interview the investigated nurse to obtain their accounting of what happened. The Investigator shares all of the information obtained from the complainant and the complainant's witnesses with the investigated nurse, who may provide a response. The Investigator documents the investigated nurse's responses and gathers relevant information including the names of witnesses suggested by the member.
- Prepare and submit a detailed report with supporting documentation to the Complaints Director. Every effort is made to complete a thorough investigation in a timely fashion, however the time to complete an investigation is variable.
Following an investigation
After the investigation report has been reviewed, the Complaints Director is required to decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence of unprofessional conduct. This means the Complaints Director addresses the following questions:
- Did the incidents, as alleged, occur?
- Was this investigated nurse responsible for the incident(s)?
- What are factors that contributed to the situation(s)?
- Does the Complaints Director believe a Hearing Tribunal could find that the actions of the nurse fall under the definition of unprofessional conduct?
The Complaints Director can do one of the following:
- Refer the matter to a hearing if there is enough evidence for a Hearing Tribunal to reasonably conclude that the investigated nurse engaged in unprofessional conduct.
- Resolve the matter through a Complaint Resolution Agreement.
- Dismiss the complaint if there is insufficient evidence or if the complaint is trivial or vexatious. The complainant and the investigated nurse will receive a dismissal notice detailing the reasons for dismissal. The complainant may request a review of the complaint dismissal within 30 days.