In our practice at Collis, Smiles and Collis, we have the privilege of representing not only Nurses before the Ohio Board of Nursing but also other professionals before their licensure Boards. This has given us the opportunity to see how various licensure Boards in Ohio handle disciplinary matters.
Each licensure Board in Ohio has its own rules and regulations and has the authority to take any action including but not limited to revocation, suspension, and/or probation of a license. Under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 119, licensees in Ohio are entitled to an administrative hearing, which allows the licensee to introduce evidence in their defense.
Despite the similar due process that is afforded to most licensees facing a disciplinary action in Ohio, we have seen that many licensure Boards in Ohio (Nursing Board, Medical Board, Psychology Board, Board of Education, Counselor, Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapist Board) impose very different sanctions, despite the relatively similar nature of the offense.
In our experience, we have seen that, generally, licensure Boards in Ohio can be more strict/punitive than licensure Boards in other States in terms of sanctions.
Even within Ohio, based on our experience, the Ohio Board of Nursing imposes permanent practice restrictions on its licensees to a far greater extent than other licensure Boards in Ohio. Generally, a permanent practice restriction limits a Nurse’s ability to work in the following settings: hospice, home health, as an independent provider for an Ohio agency, as a private duty nurse, as a volunteer, as well as any position involving management of nursing or supervision or evaluation of nursing practice, including but not limited to Director of Nursing, Assistant Director of Nursing, or Nursing Supervisor. In certain instances, the Ohio Board of Nursing will include language in a Consent Agreement or Order that allows a Nurse to request on a case-by-case basis approval to work in an otherwise restricted position, however, such requests are given close scrutiny and are often denied.
Permanent practice restrictions are often imposed in cases in which a Nurse has been convicted of a crime, found to be addicted to drugs or alcohol, or where a Nurse has practiced below the standard of care. In certain cases, the Ohio Board of Nursing imposes practice restrictions that prohibit a Nurse from working in any position that would require a Nurse to have oversight or control over financial dealings.
Permanent practice restrictions place a significant hardship on a Nurse’s employment opportunities. Although we have seen Nurses with permanent practice restrictions on their license obtain employment, permanent practice restrictions create an enormous hurdle to overcome in terms of obtaining meaningful employment because, in our experience, many employers will simply not consider any Nurse who has permanent practice restrictions on their license.
Historically, it has been our experience that the Ohio Board of Nursing imposed permanent practice restrictions on a Nurse in cases where the facts of a case fully justified doing so based on significant practice or impairment issues, or in cases where a Nurse had been repeatedly disciplined. Presently, however, we are seeing the Ohio Board of Nursing impose permanent practice restrictions on Nurses in greater numbers and on their first disciplinary action.
While there are cases in which permanent practice restrictions are justified to protect the public, obtaining the advice of experienced legal counsel before you sign a Consent Agreement containing permanent practice restrictions or before undertaking to represent yourself at an Administrative Hearing (which could result in a Ohio Nursing Board Order imposing permanent practice restrictions) is recommended.
As always, if you have any questions about this post or the Ohio Nursing Board in general, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Collis, Smiles & Collis, LLC at 614-486-3909 or email Beth@collislaw.com