Professional Unsuitability By-Law

1.00 Jurisdiction

1.01 General
The purpose of the Professional Unsuitability Committee is to review and make recommendations regarding the suitability of a student for the profession of nursing. The College of Nursing may require a student to withdraw from the College pursuant to the procedures set out in this By-Law when the student has been found unsuited, on consideration of competence or professional fitness, for the practice of nursing. A student may be required to withdraw at any time throughout the academic year or following the results of examinations at the end of any academic term.

This right to require withdrawal prevails notwithstanding any other provision in the College's Rules or Regulations. The Canadian Nurses' Association Code of Ethics, as the ethical basis for nursing in Canada, will be considered in every situation in which an inquiry is being held into the conduct of a student in the practice of nursing. Furthermore, in accordance with provisions of the Manitoba Human Rights Code, the College’s duty to reasonably accommodate the special needs of its students will be considered. This by-law normally pertains to students in the Four Year Undergraduate Program. In cases of professionally unsuitable conduct of students in the Baccalaureate Program for Registered Nurses or the Graduate Program, the student will normally be referred to the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba.

1.02 Grounds for required withdrawal
A student may be required to withdraw from the Faculty when the student has:

  • been found guilty of such conduct which, if participated in by a practicing registered nurse would result in suspension or expulsion of the practitioner from the practice of nursing or such other disciplinary actions available against a practitioner by the governing body of the profession;
  • practiced incompetently in any clinical setting;
  • jeopardized professional judgment through self-interest or a conflict of interest;
  • demonstrated behaviour with respect to other students, colleagues, faculty or the public which is exploitive, irresponsible or destructive;
  • acquired a criminal conviction which according to the established Faculty processes was determined to be of such a nature as to bring disrepute to the profession, or by which in the opinion of the College, the student demonstrated poor judgment, lack of integrity or (other) unsuitability for the profession;
  • any health condition, the occurrence of which impairs essential performance required for the health profession;
  • been under the influence of alcohol or drugs while participating in client care, any other professional activity, or any activity related to the practice of the nursing profession;
  • demonstrated unethical behaviour as specified by the Canadian Nurses’ Association Code of Ethics.

2.00 Professional Unsuitability Committee (PUC)

2.01 There shall be established within the College a standing committee known as the Professional Unsuitability Committee (PUC) to hear and determine matters of competence and/or professional fitness for the practice of nursing. Appeals from the PUC shall be heard by the Senate Committee on Appeals.

Membership in the PUC shall be as follows:

Chair (non-voting, except in the case of tie): tenured faculty member or instructor in a continuing appointment to be appointed by the Dean, College of Nursing for a five (5) year term, which may be renewable.

Committee Members:

  • three full time academic members of the faculty, elected by the Council of the Faculty of Nursing, for a five (5) year term, which may be renewable;
  • two students from the College of Nursing; one third year or fourth-year undergraduate and one graduate student, appointed by the respective student organizations, for a one (1) year term, which may be renewable; and
  • one representative of the Nursing Profession to be appointed by the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM), preferably with experience in dealing with CRNM disciplinary matters, for a five (5) year term, which may be renewable.

3.00 Procedure

3.01 The Dean (or appropriate designate) shall:

i) refer matters, which in her/his opinion, involve conduct or circumstances described in Article 1.01 and 1.02 herein, to the PUC in a written report, setting out the name of the student involved, the alleged facts and the alleged ground(s) warranting withdrawal pursuant to Article 1.01 and 1.02. In no circumstances will a referral be based solely on anonymous allegations or materials. Anonymous materials are defined as “authorship that has not been disclosed”.
ii) provide the PUC and student with the information which supports the request to assess the student’s suitability for the profession of nursing. This information (in writing) must be provided to the PUC and student at least five (5) working days prior to the date of the hearing.

3.02 The PUC shall:

i) send a Notice of Hearing to the named student pursuant to Article 4.01 by registered mail to the last known address of the student as found on the College’s records. At the student’s request, additional information may be sent by regular mail, email or facsimile;
ii) consider whether just cause exists to suspend the student while the matter is being determined and if so, to issue an interim suspension to the student;
iii) at all times act expeditiously to complete the hearing;
iv) determine whether any of the grounds requiring withdrawal under Article 1.01 and 1.02 exist at hearing of the matter pursuant to this By-Law; and
v) make a disposition in accordance with Article 6.00 herein.

3.03 Once a reference has been made to the PUC, the proceedings may continue notwithstanding that the student has subsequently voluntarily withdrawn from the Faculty, or has refused to participate in the proceedings.

4.00 Notice to Students

4.01 The Chair of the PUC shall inform the student in writing, within five (5) working days of receipt of the referral, of the grounds for referral to the PUC, as well as the membership of the PUC and the date, time, and place for the hearing by the PUC of the matters set out in the referral.

4.02 The Notice from the Chair shall include a statement that if the allegations contained in the reference are established to the satisfaction of the PUC the student may be required to withdraw from the College.

4.03 A faculty member shall not be disqualified from sitting as a member of the PUC hearing the matter by reason only that such faculty member has had previous contact with the student or has prior personal knowledge of the matter.

4.04 The student whose case is to be dealt with shall be permitted to challenge and thereby cause to be disqualified any member of the PUC. In such a case, the Chair would consider the grounds for the challenge and may replace the disqualified members pursuant to section 2.01.

4.05 The student may provide a written response to the grounds. Such written response should be provided to the PUC within five (5) working days of the hearing date, or at the discretion of the Chair.

5.00 Hearing Procedures

5.01 The student may appear in person and may choose to be represented by a Student Advocate, legal or other counsel. A student may request an additional support person who may accompany him/her to the hearing.

5.02 The College and Student may call witnesses as needed. Written notice to each party of witnesses to be called by the other party shall be given prior to the hearing.

5.03 The hearing shall be closed to all persons except the members of the PUC, College Representative(s), the student, the designated representative of the student, and any witnesses.

5.04 The student or her/his representative shall have the right to hear and to cross examine witnesses, to have access to copies of all documents submitted to the PUC for consideration at least five (5) working days prior to the hearing, to call witnesses and to submit other evidence.

5.05 The student shall not be required to give evidence but if the student elects to do so, then the student may be questioned by members of the PUC.

5.06 A quorum for the PUC shall be 4 members and the Chair as referred to in section 2.01 above.

5.07 A simple majority of the members hearing the matter is required for any finding or for the determination of the appropriate disposition of the matter.

5.08 The Chair of the PUC shall vote only to break a tie.

5.09 Members of the PUC shall be bound by confidentiality in respect of information received in Committee. Information will only be disclosed as is reasonably necessary to implement the investigation, the resolution or the terms of any disposition imposed, or as required by law.

5.10 The results of the hearing and the reasons therefore shall be conveyed in writing to the student, the Student Advocate, and/or the designated representative of the student where applicable, with copies to the Dean of the College and the appropriate Associate Dean of the Undergraduate or Graduate Program.

6.00 Disposition of the Matter

6.01 The PUC shall, after hearing all the evidence, meet in closed session with its members only, to:

i) consider the evidence;

ii) make its findings using a balance of probabilities standard;

iii) if the allegations are proven, determine the appropriate disposition of the matter;

iv) if the allegations are not proven, dismiss the matter and/or make any other recommendation the PUC deems appropriate.

6.02 The PUC may make any disposition it deems appropriate in the circumstances. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing the following options, alone or in combination, are available:

i) determine that no further action be taken;

ii) allow the student to remain in the program and attach conditions prescribing future conduct by the student. Such conditions to remain in effect for any period of time the PUC deems appropriate;

iii) reprimand the student in writing;

iv) suspend the student from the College for a specified period of time;

v) require the student to withdraw from the College indefinitely;

vi) attach conditions which must be fulfilled before any application for re-admission to the College can be considered;

vii)expel the student from the College with no right to apply for re-admission to the College.

6.03 In cases in which the disposition of the hearing is one of iv, v, vi, or vii as set out in 6.02, the results shall be conveyed in writing to the Coordinator of Student Services, College of Nursing who shall make the appropriate notation in the student’s transcript.

6.04 The student may request the PUC to consider removal of the notation from the transcript.

7.00 Appeals

7.01 If the student wishes to appeal a disposition of the PUC, such appeal may be made to the Senate Appeals Committee in accordance with the procedures of that body.

7.02 In the event of an appeal, the implementation of any decision of the PUC may be suspended until the matter has been disposed of by the Senate Appeals Committee.

7.03 Notwithstanding the above, if the President of the University is satisfied that it is in the best interests of the University, the President may at any time make an order, subject to final disposition of the appropriate review authority, suspending the student from participating in any program of the University.

8.00 Records

A record of any finding of professional unsuitability and/or disposition related thereto shall be kept on the student’s academic file within the College. All information relating to the hearing before the PUC shall be kept in the office of the appropriate Associate Dean of the Undergraduate or Graduate Program.

9.00 Amendments

9.01 This By-Law may be amended by Senate alone, or by Senate after approval of such amendment(s) by Faculty Council.


Approved by Senate: April 6, 2011