Know Your Rights

Strengthening the Professional Practice Process

March 25, 2022

The Professional Practice Process is intended to provide RNs and NPs with a mechanism to address workplace and practice concerns related to patient care, workload and safety. While it has helped many workplaces achieve change, it’s not a perfect process. And we know it needs work.

In our last round of collective bargaining, RNU achieved improvements to Professional Practice language which included response timelines and the ability to escalate concerns to the level of Chief Nurse when needed. But for the process to work as intended, buy-in and accountability is required from management, employers and members.

RNU is committed to strengthening the Professional Practice Process because we know it has the potential to be a powerful tool to affect positive change in your workplaces.

Our 2022-2024 Strategic Plan includes three objectives to make the professional practice process a more effective advocacy tool:

  1. Improve employers’ and members’ understanding, accountability and participation in the Professional Practice Process by seeking commitment from employers to deliver a joint education session on Professional Practices to all managers and RNU members.
  2. Negotiate collective agreement language to strengthen accountability and adherence to the Professional Practice Process. (Language may target the introduction of an independent assessment process, a tracking system for professional practice forms, and a commitment to offer education on Professional Practices to all managers).
  3. Develop a standard Professional Practice Form that is consistent across all Regional Health Authorities to improve consistency and effectiveness of the process.

In the meantime

Although the process needs work, we strongly encourage members to continue completing Professional Practice forms and follow the steps outlined within the collective agreement. Refer to the Professional Practices Toolkit for tips and advice.

Often members fill out professional practice forms in good faith and do not hear back or see change. We know this is frustrating.

If you find yourself in this situation, there are some questions you should ask your manager:

  • First, what happened to the form(s)?
  • Were they successfully submitted to your manager and did they go to the Professional Practice Committee (PPC) for discussion?

Remember, we suggest keeping a copy of the form for your own records.

Next, speak to a PPC representative and/or your Branch President about the lack of response you are experiencing.

If your concern is unresolvable at the committee level, was the CEO ever invited to a PPC meeting as Article 48.01 (i) of the CA allows for?

Similarly, was the issue(s) escalated by the PPC to the appropriate director and Chief Nursing Officer as Article 48.01 (h) allows for?

RNU Labour Relations Officers are available to support you and advocate on your behalf. To effectively help you, they will need answers to the above questions.

As well, PPCs can invite RNU Labour Relations Officers and/or an RNU Board of Director’s member to attend a meeting. We suggest that the mechanisms identified in Article 48.01 (i) and (h) be exhausted first.

If you have questions about the Professional Practice Process, please email info@rnunl.ca or refer to the Professional Practice Toolkit.