Position Profile

Job Title:  Nurse Consultant / Complaints Officer

Work Unit:  PHC / Monitoring and Investigations / Protection for Persons in Care (PPC)

Ministry:   Alberta Health

Competition Number:  1043496

Date:  July 2017



The Protection for Persons in Care (PPC) Nurse Consultant/Complaints Officer (CO) position, reporting to the Manager Complaints, has a legislative responsibility in administering the Protection for Persons in Care Act. The Nurse Consultant/CO is a member of the PPC complaints management multidisciplinary team, which is made up of individuals with differing skills and knowledge levels. The primary responsibility of this position is in health care settings, such as acute care hospitals, mental health settings, and continuing care settings, with urgent and ambulatory care centres and home care being added in 2013.

The Nurse Consultant/CO provides the extensive professional clinical expertise required to analyze and synthesize medical information. The incumbent applies theory, clinical knowledge and his/her understanding of the health system, when reviewing reports of abuse in health care settings. Relying on extensive knowledge of various legislations, such as the Health Professions Act and the Health Information Act, this position makes inquiries of service providers, refers to committees, bodies or persons under authorized enactments, engages with private, public, and government stakeholders at various levels, as appropriate, or appoints contracted investigators to ensure administrative fairness in managing complaints of abuse.

The position responsibilities include reviewing the evidence, appropriateness given the health care setting and assessing the medical legal aspects of the investigation. The incumbent also provides advice to the Director in making a decision on the outcome of an investigation, reviewing and critiquing investigator recommendations, providing direction to service providers in preventing future incidents of abuse, and in reviewing service provider’s responses to ensure compliance with the Director’s decision.

This position serves a critical role across the province in the management of the complaints process within an abuse prevention framework that is transparent, accountable, and provides public confidence that complaints of alleged abuse of adults receiving care and support services are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner in accordance with the Protection for Persons in Care Act.

The position is an important role within the ministry, and other government departments in providing safeguards for protecting vulnerable adult Albertans from abuse. The position deals with very sensitive issues which include personal health information and operates in an environment that can be highly political.

Responsibilities and Activities


Adults receiving government funded care and support services are protected from abuse through the administration of the PPCA and the implementation of recommendations and directives that strengthen policies, programs, and practices. The incumbent's responsibilities include reviewing the evidence, appropriateness given the health care setting and assessing the medical legal aspects of the investigation. The incumbent documentation is completed in an accurate, thorough and detailed manner and provides reports to the Manager, Complaints.


Responsible for determining legislative jurisdiction.

  • Utilizes expert knowledge of the PPCA and the ability to interpret the Act to determine the jurisdiction of the report of abuse. The position identifies issues, defines problems, and provides analysis to make a decision on the appropriate course of action to be taken.
  • Working within a tight time frame, conducts inquiries and recommends whether a report of abuse should be discontinued or referred for investigation.
  • Evaluates the disposition, uses discretionary legislative powers and applies clinical expertise and knowledge to determine if the report of abuse should be referred to a contracted PPC investigator, a police service, or another committee, body or person authorized under another enactment to conduct an investigation.
  • Case manages reports of abuse, which includes taking all necessary steps to acknowledge the report of abuse, notifying all stakeholders of an investigation, reviewing investigator’s reports to ensure completeness, and developing briefing notes for review by the manager and director.
  • Share and transfers knowledge of medical treatments, surgical, mental health, and home care procedures with other members of the complaints management team.
  • Provides telephone coverage when the intake complaints officer is away, which includes determining if a complaint should be referred to PPC, the Office of the Public Guardian, Accommodation Standards or another body, such as Alberta Health Services patient concerns.
  • Engages in consultation with private, public, and government stakeholders as required.

Coordinates the investigation and provides advice on future direction of the report of abuse.

  • Analyzes and synthesizes the investigation reports using his/her knowledge of the health system, professional clinical nursing judgement, clinical knowledge and expertise in order to review the reports and make recommendations on the proper course of action that ensures that allegations are fairly, thoroughly and accurately addressed.
  • Applies professional clinical knowledge and expertise in reviewing and interpreting medical reports, diagnostic and lab results, medication orders, client care plans and assessment from physicians, other health care professionals, caregivers and service providers.
  • Utilizes extensive knowledge of the various service providers’ professional standards and practices established by another enactment and other pertinent legislation for the determination of whether a report of abuse is founded or unfounded based on the evidence provided.
  • Assesses the options and implications of the decision making process across the health care continuum, when providing advice, with rationale, to the director in recommending the steps to be taken to ensure the safety of vulnerable adults and in preventing further abuse.
  • Advises management of emerging issues and pressures across the health care sector.

Monitors the extent that service providers are in compliance with the Director’s decision regarding enforcement responsibilities of the branch.

  • Analyzes and evaluates written submissions and supporting documentation from service providers and/or individuals involved in reports of abuse to ensure compliance with the Director’s decision.
  • Uses tact, discretion and clinical judgement in determining if the service provider’s response is in compliance. Assesses how to proceed based on legislation, analysis and interpretation to maximize the level of safety and prevention of abuse being achieved by the service provider.
  • Encourages and promotes compliance by addressing non-compliance in a fair, effective and consistent manner by providing recommendations and rationale to address non-compliance.

Provides advice and collaborates with stakeholders.

  • Establishes and maintains partnerships and consults with multiple stakeholders to influence goals and shared outcomes that will be beneficial in the prevention of abuse. Stakeholders include Alberta Health Services, professional bodies and other service providers, the Office of the Public Guardian [OPG], Persons with Developmental Disabilities [PDD]), Office of the Mental Health Patient Advocate, other areas under Alberta Health and other government departments, and law enforcement services.
  • Communicates with various stakeholder groups to provide information, advice and instructions on the PPC legislation in addressing issues and concerns.
  • Provides educational presentations to relevant stakeholders, the public, and professionals as needed.
  • May represent the branch at departmental activities, interdepartmental, health care and professional association functions and other stakeholder functions.

Contributes to the administration of the PPCA

  • Identifies trends, e.g. service provider or facility, in reports of abuse.
  • Analyzes the outcomes of investigations and provides input into public and service provider reporting for ongoing educational and quality assurance purposes.
  • Provides input to Action Requests, as requested.
  • Maintains the high calibre of the complaints management area during the Manager’s absence as coverage is provided by the Nurse Consultant/Complaints Officer position.
  • Quality assurance aspects of this role apply to incorporating the lessons learned, documenting and building best practices for the team.




  • In accordance with section 11 of the PPCA, plays a key role in administering the Act, requiring extensive knowledge of health care and other legislation that may impact the administration of the PPC legislation.
  • Influences and facilitates the investigation process to ensure administrative fairness.
  • Works with complex, highly sensitive and interdependent program issues, undergoes rapidly shifting priorities with tight timelines.
  • Require understanding and creativity in finding ways to improve program processes and procedures as the issues encountered are not always standard and there are many variables to consider.
  • Needs to be cognizant of and identify emerging trends of abuse from either a single service provider or across a class of service providers to bring forward to the management team.
  • Enjoys a high degree of autonomy while functioning in a team environment.


  • The Nurse Consultant/CO role is paramount in ensuring the PPCA is administered in a fair and objective manner, which may impact how the Government of Alberta is perceived.
  • Takes positive action in responding to abuse, which impacts thousands of Albertans who receive care services, their service providers, and the respective boards/authorities that are provided with government funds for the provision of care services.
  • The confidence level of the public is heightened when government implements changes that will enhance safeguards for adults in care and the prevention of abuse.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities



  • Expert knowledge of the PPCA and its application.
  • Medical terminology and medical and surgical procedures with an awareness of current information issues, trends, research and technologies, and their respective impacts on investigations.
  • Extensive knowledge of other related legislation, such as the: Hospitals Act, Nursing Homes Act and Regulations, Mental Health Act, Health Professions Act, Health Information Act, Housing Act, Personal Directives Act, Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act, Social Care Facilities Review Committee Act, Persons with Developmental Disabilities Governance Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act.
  • Experience with, but not limited to best practice of medication administration, client care plans, professional standards of practice, mental health issues, and accommodation and health standards that apply across the health care sector.
  • Clinical and professional expertise, applied knowledge of disease processes, care and treatment related to the disease condition, and understanding of information and techniques commonly referenced in healthcare documentation and reports.
  • Must understand social and health care issues, in dealing with complex matters, such as mental health issues.


  • Exceptional conceptual, analytical and problem solving skills. Ability to summarize and synthesize complex materials. Ability to identify key issues and develop responses and solutions.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with an emphasis on communication and teamwork. Creativity, tenacity, confidence, maturity, analytical ability, people orientation and problem solving skills essential.
  • Highly competent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to build relationships with a mix of stakeholders and staff.
  • High level of self management with strong results orientation.
  • Strong leadership skills and the ability to mentor new staff and work cooperatively and productivity with others to achieve positive results, displaying strong consultative and collaborative skills.


  • Creativity and the ability to think strategically and critically on a broad scale in the development of innovative and feasible options and strategic solutions to issues, trends, programs and services.
  • Ability to manage effectively in rapidly changing environments and respond effectively.
  • Ability to work independently and be adaptable and flexible to exercise sound judgement and sensitivity when dealing with complex or politically sensitive issues while maintaining a neutral and objective approach.
  • Ability to provide accurate analysis of investigation reports and compliance responses.
  • Ability to accurately review a comprehensive and detailed medically based investigation in a health care setting is required.
  • The ability to learn new information systems and adapt to the ever changing information technology world.

Education and Work Experience:

  • A nursing diploma and/or degree supplemented with 6-7 years of experience working in a health care setting.
  • Active nursing registration.
  • Strong knowledge of the health care system across the full continuum.
  • Extensive knowledge and understanding of clinical practice guidelines/standards, client documentation processes, medical diagnoses, medical and surgical treatments and practices related to providing care in client’s homes.
  • Working knowledge of computer systems.


  • Manager of Complaints in operationalizing the complaints management process under the PPCA.
  • Contracted investigators in appointing as investigators under the PPCA and in follow-up to investigation reports.
  • Other COs and administrative support staff in achieving a team approach to meeting the goals of the PPC program.
  • Director of PPC regarding decisions on the outcome of investigations and stakeholders compliance under the PPCA.
  • External stakeholders including the public, service providers, professional associations, Office of the Mental Health Patient Advocate, police agencies, other ministry branches, other government departments and the Ombudsman.

Supervision Exercised

  • This position does not have a supervisory role except when providing coverage for the Manager during Manager’s absence.
  • Works with the Manager, other COs and administrative support position to develop work methods and procedures and to ensure workload is covered.
  • Acts as a resource for contract investigators, as necessary when /if problems/questions arise during investigations.
  • Provides input to the Manager with concerns about investigation reports and/or decisions.
  • Works with the policy area in looking at trends and outcomes from the application of the Act.


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