Processes for disciplining nurses for unprofessional conduct of a serious nature : a critique

Johnstone, Megan-Jane and Kanitsaki, Olga 2005, Processes for disciplining nurses for unprofessional conduct of a serious nature : a critique, Journal of advanced nursing, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 363-371, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2005.03401.x.

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Title Processes for disciplining nurses for unprofessional conduct of a serious nature : a critique
Author(s) Johnstone, Megan-Jane
Kanitsaki, Olga
Journal name Journal of advanced nursing
Volume number 50
Issue number 4
Start page 363
End page 371
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2005-05
ISSN 0309-2402
Keyword(s) nurses
unprofessional conduct
discipline panels
nurse regulating authorities
clinical risk management
Summary Aims: This paper critiques the deliberative processes used by the discipline panels of an Australian statutory nurse regulating authority when appraising the alleged unprofessional conduct of nurses and determining appropriate remedies.

Background: Little is known about the nature and effectiveness of the deliberative processes used by nurse regulating authorities (NRAs) disciplinary panels established to appraise and make determinations in response to allegations of unprofessional conduct by nurses.

Methods: A qualitative exploratory descriptive/pragmatic research approach was used. Data were obtained from two case-orientated sampling units: (1) 84 Reasons for Determination made between 1994 and 2000 and (2) a purposeful sample of 12 former and current nurse regulating authority members, nurse regulating authority staff and a nurse regulating authority representative who had experience of disciplinary proceedings and/or who had served on a formal hearing panel. Data were analysed using content and thematic analysis strategies.

Results: Attitudinal considerations (e.g. whether a nurse understood the 'wrongness' of his or her conduct; accepted responsibility for his or her conduct; exhibited contrition/shame during the hearing; was candid in his or her demeanour) emerged as the singularly most significant factor influencing discipline panel determinations. Disciplinary action is taken appropriately against nurses who have committed acts of deliberate malfeasance. NRAs may not, however, be dealing appropriately with nurses when disciplining them for making honest mistakes/genuine practice errors.

Conclusion: Traditional processes used for appraising and disciplining nurses who have made honest mistakes in the course of their work need to be substantially modified as they are at odds with the models of human error management that are currently being advocated and adopted globally to improve patient safety and quality of care in health care domains.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2005.03401.x
Field of Research 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery
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