Board of Nursing Disciplinary Action
The state board of nursing has received multiple complaints
J.R., an RN who works in a long-term care facility. J.R. has
on 3 controlled substances count sheets that have been
be inaccurate. During an investigation it was discovered
members of the nursing staff knew about J.R.’s reported
they did not report their observations to the unit
because the administrator is J.R.’s aunt. After the
board of nursing subpoenas J.R. to a meeting to discuss
preparation for a disciplinary hearing.
Ethical/Legal Points for Consideration
Regulation of professional nursing practice is the right of
each of the
50 states. Most have regulatory agencies charged with
regulations and rules to implement the state nurse practice
regulations approved by these agencies carry the weight of
Failure to behave accordingly places a nurse at risk for
The RN who is charged with unprofessional behavior has been
charged with an offense and is entitled to the same legal
rights as any
other person, including a fair and timely hearing,
confront the accusers, right to be represented by an
right to prepare a defense.
Possible disciplinary actions include temporary suspension
nursing license, revocation of the nursing license,
rehabilitation for substance use, and mandated supervision
evaluation of practice. Sometimes the disciplinary action
fines and requires reeducation. The state board of nursing
the action to the state attorney general if evidence
suggests that a
crime has been committed. The RN who is found guilty of
unprofessional practice must report this action on all
applications for nursing positions.
All RNs should be familiar with their state’s nurse practice
regulations, and the composition and actions of the state
nursing. Nurses should pay attention to the regulation that
examples of actionable behavior and disciplinary actions
by the state.
RNs have a legal and ethical obligation to report suspected
behavior to their administrators and to continue reporting
situation is resolved. By failing to report, the RN may be
an accessory to the act or aiding and abetting the behavior.
may be charged with unprofessional behavior and risks losing
her nursing license. Shifting the obligation to someone else
or failure to continue reporting each incident does not
1. How would you handle a situation in which retaliation for
reporting unprofessional behavior may occur?
2. What would you do if the nurse suspected of illegal
related to someone in the administrative hierarchy?