Fitness to Practice

As a Registered Psychiatric Nurse you are accountable and responsible for your own fitness to practice (FTP).  When you experience health concerns that affect your skills, abilities and judgement you may not be able to provide safe, competent and ethical nursing care in the best interest of the public and patient safety.

If you have questions about FTP, the following information may be helpful. If you continue to have a question about your own or another’s FTP please call CRPNA for advice.

Fitness to practice can be defined as  the abilities and competences of a registered psychiatric nurse in relation to his/her capacity to practice as a registered psychiatric nurse, free of any cognitive, physical, psychological or emotional conditions and dependence on alcohol or drugs that impairs his or her ability to practice as a RPN.

The Code of Ethics & Standards of Psychiatric Nursing Practice 2013 state that a Registered Psychiatric Nurse self reports to CRPNA conditions that compromise their fitness to practice.

Incapacity is defined in the HPA as "suffering from a physical, mental, or emotional condition or disorder or an addiction to alcohol or drugs as defined in the Pharmacy and Drug Act, or other chemical that impairs the ability to provide professional services in a safe and competent manner". If you are incapacitated then you are not fit to practice.
As an RPN, you are responsible for maintaining your own FTP in order to provide safe, competent, ethical care. If you have concerns about your FTP you should consult your health-care provider to determine if you can practice safely. If you are self-employed, you may need to arrange for another appropriate health-care professional to provide care for your client.

There may be times when you are unable to recognize you are not fit to practice. Your health condition may be chronic and your health status declining. Physical and mental health, substance abuse and addiction disorders can cloud your judgment regarding your own FTP. If your colleagues raise concerns about your practice, take care to assess your practice.

When fatigue interferes with FTP, it can impair your judgment and can create significant risk for you and your clients. Fatigue can be either physical, mental/psychological or both and it can be short or long term. Many factors in the workplace environment and in your personal life can contribute to fatigue. Factors such as sleep deprivation and fatigue from long hours of work can affect your ability to observe, to collect data, to analyze information, to solve problems, and/or to respond rapidly.  When you are too fatigued, you should inform your employer you cannot take on extra shifts. It is recommended that you manage your non-work activities so that they do not affect your FTP.

If you have questions about fitness to practice call CRPNA to speak with the Practice Consultant.