I had the opportunity to speak to a nursing school last week about the role of Ohio Board of Nursing. In preparing for the talk, I knew I would be asked “What is going to get me in trouble with the Nursing Board?”. I have a pretty good idea of the types of actions that I regularly see investigated by the Board, but I also did a little research and reviewed the last few months’ list of disciplinary actions or proposed actions so I would be ready for this question.
I found, generally, the Nursing Board receives 3000 complaints each year. While the Board investigates all complaints, they only take action against approximately 600 nurses each year.
Half of the nurses disciplined or monitored by the Nursing Board involve cases of nurses who suffer from drug or alcohol abuse or dependency. (see my former post The Alternative Program for Chemically Dependent Nurses) Many nurses voluntarily seek treatment and then are entitled to participation in the Board’s confidential monitoring program.
But, some nurses find themselves the subject of Board discipline after being found guilty of a DUI, or testing positive on a drug screen through their employer. Last month, the Nursing Board cited several nurses who tested positive at work for illegal street drugs or for medications for which they could not produce a valid prescription (ie. they had been given a prescription drug from a friend or family member)
In addition to actions against nurses who suffer from substance abuse, the Board also takes actions against nurses who have felony convictions and misdemeanors involving moral turpitude. The Nursing Board recently cited nurses who had been charged with numerous crimes including: child endangering; Medicaid fraud; transporting or possessing a semi-automatic handgun; stealing narcotics; misdemeanor assault; illegal processing of drug documents; theft by deception, just to name a few.
The Board also takes action against nurses who have been disciplined by other state agencies (other state Nursing Boards) and they take actions against nurses for practicing outside of the scope of their license or for failing to disclose to the Board a disciplinary action or conviction from another agency or district (lies).
Most nurses are surprised to learn that the Nursing Board is genuinely concerned about conduct both at work and also outside of work. In addition to discipline related to practice, nurses can be subjected to disciplinary actions for “bad behavior” outside of the work setting. Nurses are routinely the subject of discipline by the Board for DUIs, assault, child abuse, neglect, passing a bad check and other crimes. As professionals, nurses are held to a high standard by the Board while at work and after work.
As always, if you have any questions about this post or the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 614-486-3909.