Nurses take care of their patients, but sometimes, patients file complaints against nurses for abuse, illicit substance use or sexual misconduct. Medical care practitioners accused of misconduct may go before the Board of Nursing.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing explains actions the board may take against nurses. To defend their professional license, nurses must know the consequences they face.
The board could take emergency action after reviewing the complaint and all associated evidence. One reason for emergency action is allowing the nurse to continue practicing could put patients and the rest of the public in harm’s way. After completing its investigation, the board may revise the emergency response.
The BOA of one state may request the board from another state to take reciprocal action against a nurse crossing state lines. Reciprocal actions allow disciplinary measures to follow nurses no matter what state they practice in.
After investigating a complaint, a board may take disciplinary action against the accused nurse. Examples of disciplinary actions include:
- Civil penalty or fine
- Public censure or reprimand for a minor breach of practice act without restricting the nurse’s license
- Referral to a discipline program alternative for recovery support and practice supervision
- Setting remediation, supervision or education requirements according to the complaint
- License suspension or revocation or voluntary license surrender
- Restricted or limited practice abilities, such as probation
The wording used to describe disciplinary actions varies from state to state.
When nurses understand actions a board may take, they know how to mount a legal defense to retain their license and ability to practice.