When should you self report to the Ohio Board of Nursing?

In certain instances, it may be beneficial to self-report to the Nursing Board, even if not required by law.  How and when should this be done?  There are no simple answers.

In Ohio, the Nursing Board can take a disciplinary action against a nurse who has been convicted of a felony, a misdemeanor committed in the practice of nursing and a misdemeanor involving a “crime of moral turpitude”.  Many crimes fit under the definition of a “moral turpitude”, such as assault charges, domestic violence, sexual imposition, child abuse, neglect, just to name a few.

The Nursing Board is also always on the lookout for nurses who are impaired in their ability to practice because they suffer from drug, alcohol or mental health issues.  The Nursing Board is authorized to take a disciplinary action against a nurse who is unable to practice according to acceptable and prevailing standards of safe nursing care without appropriate treatment, monitoring, or supervision.

When you renew your nursing license, you must disclose to the Nursing Board any convictions that you received since your last renewal.  You must also disclose to the Nursing Board if you have been diagnosed with a substance abuse, dependency, or mental health issue which impairs your ability to practice.  However, as you only renew your license every two years, there are instances where you may want to self-report a conviction or diagnosis to the Nursing Board PRIOR to the time you are to renew your license.  However, WHEN to self-report, WHAT information should be reported, and WHAT supporting documents or information you should provide to the Nursing Board all depend on the individual facts and circumstances in your case.

Therefore, before you self-report to the Nursing Board, you should consider seeking experienced legal counsel to assist you to determine WHEN is the best time to self-report and to make sure you provide correct and complete information to the Nursing Board.

As always, if you have any questions about this post or the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Collis, Smiles and Collis, LLC at 614-486-3909. You may also look for more information at http://www.collislaw.com.

What the Nursing Board really cares about ..addiction, lies and convictions

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 beth@collislaw.com or call me at 614-486-3909.