“Right-touch regulation” is the way we approach our work and describes a philosophy of using as little regulatory force as necessary.
Right-touch regulation recognizes that there is usually more than one way to solve a problem, and regulatory force may not be the best answer. CARNA Provincial Council and staff are trained on the principles of right-touch regulation and apply the principles to all aspects of our work.
Proportionate: use only the minimum amount of regulatory force needed
Consistent: apply rules and standards fairly
Targeted: focus on solving a problem while minimizing side effects
Transparent: open, honest and user-friendly communication
Accountable: subject to public scrutiny and able to justify our actions
Agile: adaptable to change
A registered nurse accesses the Netcare clinical record of a friend who isn’t in their care. The member has no authority to do so and this is a breach of the patient’s privacy.
Under the Health Professions Act, the RN’s manager is required to submit a complaint to CARNA when a member has been suspended or terminated for what the employer believes is unprofessional conduct. Breach of privacy falls within that definition.
The CARNA complaints director can resolve complaints where there is evidence of unprofessional conduct by referring to a hearing, or resolution through a complaint resolution agreement.
Scheduling a hearing can take several months –or sometimes a year or more – and cost thousands of dollars to conduct. Most hearings proceed by way of consent, meaning everyone agrees to the facts and outcomes beforehand and attend the hearing to agree to these facts in person.
The process for negotiating and signing a complaint resolution agreement usually takes 30-60 days and does not incur any additional costs. The complaints director and the member enter into a formal agreement which identifies the issues of unprofessional conduct, acknowledges the member’s accountability, the required remediation and the consequences for non-compliance with the agreement.
Our example of the RN and the Netcare breach may be a good opportunity for a complaint resolution agreement. This way, we are using the minimum amount of regulatory force required to meet our outcomes, and based on the potential risk to the public.
When it comes to regulating the registered nurse profession, public safety is our number one priority. We will always use appropriate regulatory practices to ensure all of our members practise nursing safely, competently and ethically.
But we also realize that not all allegations of unprofessional conduct require a hearing, which is where the application of right-touch regulation principles are most appropriate. This is a process where matters can be more expediently dealt with, the potential for risk to the public is minimized and the registered nurse can maintain a safe practice.