I Didn’t Know the Board of Nursing Could Do That!

I was looking at the Google Analytics for the website and I followed the white rabbit for one of the searches that found this site.  What I found when I recreated this search was a 2002 article from Nursing written byLori Brown, a Nurse/Attorney from Indianapolis, Indiana.  See what you think of this scenerio after the jump:

WHEN SARAH ARRIVED HOME after working the evening shift at an extended-care facility, she found a white envelope from her state Attorney General’s office in her mail. To her dismay, she learned that her prior employer had filed a complaint against her with the state board of nursing alleging that she’d been abusive to patients. The letter listed three incidents:

* She’d required a resident to walk 10 feet to get to a wheelchair.

* She’d spoken loudly to patients.

* She’d used obscene language within earshot of patients.

Sarah was shocked. How could they do this to me? she thought. I was always on time. I had good evaluations and I provided excellent care to residents. Surely if she just went to the nursing board and told them the truth, they’d dismiss the complaint.

If this scenario sounds farfetched, let me assure you it’s not. Sarah was a client of mine. (I’ve changed her name and some identifying details to maintain confidentiality.) Like many nurses called before the state board of nursing, she faced charges against her license that seemed to come out of the blue. Because her case illustrates what you could expect if you found yourself in similar circumstances, let me share her story with you.

Link to full article here

And the result?

During the hearing, the board heard testimony from Sarah and from various witnesses to the incidents in question. Afterward, the board members openly discussed the matter. (How the board arrives at a decision varies among states.) They concluded that patient abuse had occurred when Sarah had raised her voice and when she had failed to respect a patient’s right to refuse to ambulate. They put her on probation for 2 years and required her to take a 6-hour anger management course.

But that isn’t all!  As part of her probation, Sarah had to work only day shifts.  But. . . .

When she accepted a 12-hour shift, she was found to be in violation of her probation and lost her license.  Sarah learned a hard lesson: The board’s authority over your license doesn’t end with the hearing. Any disciplinary action imposed by the board must be taken seriously and followed to the letter.

Harsh, but this is very true and also true regarding the Regulations the Board has promulgated.  I have sat in on a hearing before the Texas Board of Nursing Disciplinary and Eligibility Committee for a nurse who, in my opinion, had been railroaded by a former employer but had not responded to the notice because of a postal service issue.  The nurse had her license revoked after she didn’t respond to the Board because she never received the notices and she didn’t timely file an appeal to re-open her case.  But the Board was following its rules to the letter, so while the outcome was unjust, it was not unfair.

Next week – more on similar Texas cases

Marc

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