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Public Registers

Meeting Purpose

This meeting was part of a two-day conference on February 4th and 5th, 2021. The purpose was for colleges to explore- through the input of public advisors- how to increase the value, usability and public awareness of the colleges’ public registers.

Key messages from public advisors

  • Consistent naming and functionalities across all colleges will enable an easier public experience accessing public registers.
  • A single public register that encompasses all practitioners, followed with filters and categorizations for specific professions would make public registers easier to navigate.
  • Providing practitioners with the option to display additional information such as a photograph, gender identity, continued education, and cultural safety certifications helps to build public trust.
  • Colleges should consider investing in search engine optimization for their public registers.

Colleges’ Public Registers

Elizabeth Bruce, BCCNM Digital Engagement Strategist, gave a brief outline of colleges’ public registers.

  • Colleges are required to provide a public register under the HPA. The list must include all the current registers. When people are applying for registration, they need verification, so colleges may use it as well. Information provided includes:
    • Name
    • Registrants classification: designation, ex. Nurses have RN, RPN, LPN, Midwives, etc.
    • Any conditions on their practice: ex. If they have provisions or a disciplinary issue, cancellations, suspensions, etc.
    • Each college may have other requirements per their by laws
  • Groups that use the registry may include:
    • Employers
    • Insurance companies
    • The public
  • Colleges are curious as to what information the public is looking for in registers, what to call registers, and other opportunities to improve their public registers.

Susanna gave live examples of public registers and went to the websites of CPBC, CPTBC, CTCMA BC, and COBC to review and compare their registers.

Individual Reflection

Public advisors were asked to individually reflect and make notes, answering:

  1. What might you use a college’s public register for? Consider uses before and after your interaction with a health professional.
  2. For this purpose, what information would you like to know about the practitioner?
  3. What website functionality would help the public use the register?

Advisor input: Using the register

Public advisors participated in break out rooms, discussing their ideas from their individual reflection.

What might you use a college’s public register for?

  • To see if someone is in good standing and/or has any citations on their practice.
  • When searching for a new practitioner.
  • To see if a practitioner has worked in remote, rural, or urban communities.
  • To confirm a practitioner’s credentials and qualifications.
  • To find a practitioner with a specific cultural background.
  • To access services when someone is new to a community.
    • Most people are likely to Google “practitioner in my area”

For this purpose, what information would you like to know about the practitioner?

  • Areas of specialization that other practitioners may not have. Ex. Mental health.
  • Languages spoken.
  • Whether a practitioner may be able to accommodate specific disabilities. Ex. Sign language.
  • If a practitioner accepts specific benefits or status cards, alternative payment plans, and if they submit paperwork on a patient’s behalf.
  • If a practitioner is on the recommended list for services through the FNHA.
  • Whether a practitioner is accepting new patients.
  • Additional education helps to strengthen public trust in a practitioner’s experience.
    • School attended and graduation year.
    • Extra courses, continuing education, and cultural safety certifications.
    • Length of experience in practice.
  • Practitioners could opt to display a photograph and gender identity.
  • Overview of infractions, if any.

What website functionality would help the public use the register?

  • Registries should be easily accessible from the college’s home page.
  • Consistency across colleges.
    • Consistent additional search filters such as locations, languages, specializations, accessibility, etc.
  • Mobile capabilities.
  • Including a “for the public” section in the website.
  • A single source search function to find all register links.
    • “How to check that my BC health professional is registered.”
  • A google map feature.
  • Colleges should consider investing in search engine optimization for their public registers.
  • If there are no disciplinary actions, including “none” instead of leaving it blank.

If we were making a poster to promote the public register, to display at points of care, what key messages should be featured to encourage the public to make use of the register?

  • Is this practitioner right for you?
  • Find a professional near you.
  • Find a professional that represents your identity and needs.
  • Find a professional who practices cultural humility.
  • You have choices.
  • Find a family doctor in your neighbourhood.
  • Looking for a practitioner to suit your needs?
  • Would you like to be more involved in your health care? The colleges would like to assist you.
  • Use the public register to learn more about your practitioners.
  • Know more about your practitioners: look up!
  • Have you checked that your health professional is registered to practice?

Additional comments

  • Once the public finds out about colleges, they will see that it is a real asset and will be advantageous in navigating the health care system.
Naming and promoting the public register

Susanna asked the public advisors to participate in a survey on Mentimeter asking: Thinking about the purposes of the register described earlier, if you were tasked with naming this service, what would you name it, and why.

Key words included:

  • Health practitioners
  • Portal
  • Directory
  • Register
  • Gateway

Advisor input: Naming and promoting the public register

Public advisors went into break out rooms to discuss the following questions:

1. Should each college use the term that fits best for their context, or should all BC colleges use the same term for their public register?

2. What other guidance do you have for the colleges about these registers?

  • Colleges should strive to align their registry names with key google search words:
    • Health professional, directory, registry, search, portal.
  • Consistency across colleges.
    • Publicly promoting the registry will be more helpful to the public with consistency.
  • Practitioner directory.
  • One directory for all health practitioners with subheadings underneath different professions may be helpful.
  • Public registers currently seem to be more targeted at practitioner than the public. 

End of year closing

Praise gave an overview of what BC-PAN has achieved over their first operational phase.

  • BC-PAN has helped colleges to reflect on how the public is interpreting their standards and guidelines, as well as inserts the public in the center of colleges’ decision making.
  • Social media and branding.
    • BC-PAN developed a new logo.
    • A new Twitter and public advisor Facebook group.
  • BC-PAN has grown to now include
    • 16 public advisors
    • 11 college partners
    • A new facilitator and public engagement coordinator

Susanna asked participants to reflect on the work the BC-PAN has done together. Participants shared their take-a-ways, wishes, and appreciations of BC-PAN’s year.


  • Greater understanding and interest in efforts to decolonize the health care system.
  • Useful information about topics that public advisors have not been familiar with.
  • Open perspective to different points of views.
  • Understanding own individual privilege.

Wishes for next year’s BC-PAN

  • In person meetings.
  • BC-PAN will continue and continue to have opportunities to impact the health care system.
  • More work towards cultural safety and reconciliation.
  • Options to send in written reflections after each meeting.


  • BC-PAN’s public engagement coordinator and facilitator.
  • Diversity of BC-PAN.
  • Openness of the group, flow of conversations and vulnerability.

Praise went over the next steps following the meeting. Susanna closed with a meeting evaluation on Mentimeter.