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Nurses’ Professional Accountability in Reporting

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Nurses have a professional accountability to act in the best interests of patients. As a nurse, you are in a position of trust. You are well-placed to notice harmful behaviour by another nurse, and your first priority is to protect the patient.

Your accountability is to speak up in the interest of patients, and to protect them from harm. This accountability is fundamental to nursing practice and is found in:

Nurses are also legally obligated to report certain conduct to CNO, including suspected sexual abuse of a patient by a nurse.

With your report, CNO can evaluate the level of risk associated with the nurse’s behaviour and take the appropriate steps to protect the public.

Self reporting: Information a nurse has to report about themselves

A nurse practicing in Ontario is required to report certain information about themselves to CNO; this is called “self-reporting.” A nurse is required to self-report to CNO if they:

  • have been charged with any offence
  • have been found guilty of any offence
  • have a finding of professional negligence and/or malpractice
  • have a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, or any similar finding in relation to the practice of nursing or any other profession
  • are the subject of a current investigation, inquiry or proceeding for professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity or any similar investigation or proceeding in relation to the practice of nursing in another jurisdiction or any other profession

If a nurse receives an absolute or conditional discharge instead of a conviction from a criminal offence, the nurse must still self-report to CNO. A nurse must self-report even if they are pardoned.

Nurses must self-report as soon as possible, but no more than 30 days from the date of the finding or initiation of a proceeding. They use the Self-Reporting form.

Reporting information about CNO applicants and nursing students

If you have concerns about an applicant registering with CNO, including nursing students, email the Entry-to-Practice team, or call 416 963-7645.

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Page last reviewed September 27, 2021