A registered nurse (RN) or nurse practitioner (NP) is in a position of power over a patient by virtue of having professional knowledge and skill that a patient must rely on for their well-being.
RNs and NPs must always maintain professional boundaries with their patients. They are prohibited from engaging in any form of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with a patient as defined by law in the Health Professions Act.
Sexual abuse is defined in the Health Professions Act as “the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a regulated member towards a patient that is of a sexual nature.
The touching by a RN or NP of sensitive parts of a patient’s body for a valid medical purpose with the informed consent of the patient does not constitute sexual abuse.
Sexual misconduct is defined in the Health Professions Act as “any incident or repeated incidents of objectionable or unwelcome conduct, behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by a regulated member towards a patient that the regulated member knows or ought reasonably to know will or would cause offence or humiliation to the patient or adversely affect the patient’s health and well-being but does not include sexual abuse.”
We recognize that coming forward with a complaint about sexual abuse or sexual misconduct can be very difficult. We take all complaints, including those of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct, with the utmost seriousness. Call CARNA for assistance or to make a complaint, our professional conduct department has training in the area of sexual abuse and is very familiar with CARNA’s complaint process.
For more information call 780.451.0043 / 1.800.252.9392 and ask to speak to someone in the complaints department. Learn more about the complaint process.
Complaints of a sexual nature may involve:
Coming forward about a sexually inappropriate encounter can be incredibly difficult, however there are good reasons for reporting:
CARNA has established a patient relations program to support patients who come forward with complaints of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with funding for therapy or counselling.
Filing a complaint with CARNA related to sexual abuse and sexual misconduct is entitles the patient to receive funding.
To learn more about funding for counselling or therapy, please contact CARNA’s conduct department at 780.451.0043 / 1.800.252.9392.
Patients may also wish to contact Health Link Alberta for current resources to support them.
CARNA is complying with the Government of Alberta’s Bill 21, An Act to Protect Patients, by ensuring its regulated members complete an online mandatory education course to protect patients from sexual abuse and misconduct.
All registrants and applicants must complete the online education course “Protecting Patients from Sexual Abuse and Misconduct” as a perquisite for receiving a practice permit.
The course sets out expectations for the nursing profession and its relationships with patients. The course is free and takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
Login to MyCARNA and then click on My Learning Space to begin.