Recent media attention about an unlicensed dentist practicing illegally in the Lower Mainland has shed light on one of the challenging aspects of self-regulation: taking action against unauthorized practitioners and ensuring they do no harm.

Although relatively rare, nursing is not immune to such situations. Like all health regulators, we take these situations very seriously. CRNBC investigates and takes swift action against individuals impersonating nurses.

To help combat unauthorized practice, we encourage employers, nurses and the public to always use our online nurse verification tool or call the College to ensure the nurses they employ, work with or from whom they receive care are registered and in good standing. This is an important and easy step to take.

Nevertheless, we recognize that this is not always enough to prevent unauthorized practice.

So, on September 16, 23 colleges that regulate health care professionals in BC will be launching a public awareness campaign called “our purpose, your safety.” Using public transit and closed captioning advertisements on Global BC’s evening news, the campaign asks the public to make sure their health care professional is regulated, licensed and accountable. It is coincidental that the campaign comes on the heels of the recent media attention about the unlicensed dentist. However, the more informed the public, the better off we are in responding to this significant public safety concern.  And at the same time, we count on our registrants to report any concerns about unauthorized practice to the Colleges. If nurses see something that is concerning or just doesn’t seem quite right, please contact us.

For more information, you can visit the BC Health Regulators website at www.bchealthregulators.ca when it’s launched on September 16. I welcome your comments and input on this campaign.