The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) is the body that regulates nursing licenses throughout the state. It focuses on making sure those who hold a nursing license meet the obligations outlined within the Nursing Practice Act (NPA) and is the organization in charge of looking into any concerns from another medical professional, patient, or other member of the community that a nurse may have violated these obligations.
The process to look into these matters is not a quick one. On average, a BON investigation into a viable complaint can take five to twelve months to complete and the BON may require additional time to evaluate the results of the investigation.
How does the BON investigation process work?
Although the details may vary for each case, the process usually proceeds as follows:
- The BON will generally notify a nurse of an investigation and allegations of wrongdoing. The only time that they are allowed to move forward with an investigation without giving notification is if there is valid concern the notification would somehow jeopardize the investigation.
- The BON then gives the nurse who is accused of wrongdoing an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
- If enough evidence is present for the BON to think a NPA violation may exist, it will likely investigate. This can include an on-site investigation, though that is pretty rare. More often than not, the investigation involves correspondence through the mail or telephone.
What happens next will depend on the results of the investigation. If evidence is not present to support the allegations, the BON may close the case and possibly expunge the issue from the nurse’s file. There are some instances when they may hold on to the information for a set period of time.
If evidence is present to support the allegations, the BON may move forward with sanctions. In some cases, this could be a fine, additional required educational courses, warning, or suspension. In extreme cases, it could include a probation or even revocation of the nurse’s license.
What can I do if I face a BON investigation?
Take it seriously. Do not brush it off. If the BON has decided the information presented is enough to validate an investigation, it is probably a good idea to start taking steps to protect your rights.