Complaints against nurses can come from patients, other medical practitioners and members of the public. Naturally, these complaints are vital because they could significantly impact a patient’s health and welfare.
The law enforces various disciplinary actions to address these offenses, such as fines, putting the offender on probation and imposing practice restrictions or suspensions. Here are common violations by nurses that could lead to sanctions:
- Inappropriate professional conduct
- Failing to comply with the scope of practice
- Documentation mistakes or inaccuracy
- Providing improper care or treatment
- Patient abuse
- Improper handling or administering of medication
Other offenses are broader, including assessment or monitoring errors and actions that breach confidentiality. Repeat offenders or severe violations could lead to license suspension or revocation. Certain criminal violations committed outside work could also impact a nurse’s license status.
How does the disciplinary process work?
The process begins when a person files a complaint. Anyone can do so, but it is mandatory among medical professionals. If they fail to report a violation after learning about it, they could also face disciplinary actions.
Then, the state’s nursing board will review the complaint and determine the appropriate sanction. This step does not necessarily validate the complaint. Instead, they use this procedure to pinpoint who has authority over the case.
They will start an investigation based on the violation’s severity. It might involve talking to witnesses and asking them for written testimonies. This step could take a while before determining if the board needs to hold a conference or hearing.
If they find the complaint invalid, the process ends here, and they close the case. Otherwise, they will need to hold proceedings and order the proper penalties.
Finally, the board enters the case’s documentation into a national database that tracks these suits and any action affecting nurse licensing.