Anyone who receives notification of an impending investigation by the state Board of Nursing (BON) is wise to take the matter seriously. This group is responsible for coming up with a resolution for complaints involving nurses.
Depending on the allegations and the results of the investigation, the BON has the authority to move forward with disciplinary measures.
Who can file a complaint?
The BON can receive complaints from anyone concerned about a nurse’s actions. This can even extend beyond the workplace. Examples of reason for complaints can include concerns about how a nurse provided care for a patient as well as information about a drunk driving charge or concerns about substance abuse. The BON can choose to initiate an investigation whenever a complaint causes concern that a nurse’s actions could negatively impact their ability to provide quality care.
What are my rights if under investigation by the BON?
One of the key rights afforded to any nurse in this situation is the right to due process during an investigation. This means that the law generally requires the BON notify a nurse know about the investigation and give the nurse the opportunity to defend themselves. The nurse can also have legal counsel to represent their interests throughout the process and appeal the board’s decision.
How does the investigation process work?
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing notes that the investigation process generally includes interviews of witnesses, review of patient records, site visits, and review the nurse’s own medical records. After complete, the nurse generally has an opportunity to respond.
If there is no violation, the BON will close the investigation.
If there is concern of a violation, the next step may include an administrative hearing. This usually involves a discussion of whether there was a violation and what type of disciplinary action is warranted. These actions can range from a verbal reprimand to the revocation of the nurse’s professional license.
Although the exact process is guided by state law, the action of one state can impact the nurse’s ability to practice nursing in another state.
Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication