The Nursing Board is Investigating Me, What Ought to I Anticipate?

The Nursing Board is Investigating Me, What Ought to I Anticipate?
The Nursing Board is Investigating Me, What Ought to I Anticipate?

The North Carolina Board of Nursing (“NCBON”) is empowered by legislation to control the observe of nursing with a purpose to present secure nursing care to the general public. 

When the NCBON receives a criticism concerning a nurse’s observe or conduct, it should decide whether or not there’s a violation of the Nursing Follow Act or guidelines and, if that’s the case, the right way to finest deal with the conduct.  It goes with out saying that studying about an investigation being opened in opposition to a license is nerve-racking.  A license is a property proper.  However, extra acutely necessary, it’s the foundation of the nurse’s livelihood.  Nurses with a North Carolina license, or privilege to observe (“PTP”) in North Carolina pursuant to a multistate license issued from one other compact state, ought to take critically any letter issued by the NCBON indicating a criticism has been filed in opposition to them.  This text will present perception on what to anticipate should you obtain a letter like this from the NCBON and steering on how finest to method it and conduct your self with the Board.

Who Investigates Complaints

The NCBON authorized workers and investigators deal with all complaints and investigations concerning nursing observe, whether or not the nurse accused of wrongdoing is a Registered Nurse (“RN”), Licensed Sensible Nurse (“LPN”), or Superior Follow Registered Nurse (“APRN”).  APRNs are Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, Nurse Anesthetists, and Scientific Nurse Specialists.  Nurse practitioners are collectively regulated by the NCBON and the North Carolina Medical Board (“NCMB”).  The 2 boards have agreed to share the obligation of investigating complaints in opposition to these nurses.  The NCBON workers, nevertheless, stay primarily accountable for almost all of the instances opened.

On their web site, the NCBON has info on what to anticipate within the criticism/investigation course of.  When the NCBON receives a criticism a few nurse, the NCBON workers will decide if the criticism alleges a violation of the legislation and guidelines that govern nursing observe for the RN, LPN, and APRN.  In that case, a case is opened, and an investigator is assigned.  The NCBON’s investigators are normally nurses; nevertheless, there are non-nurse investigators as nicely, and some are former members of legislation enforcement. 

It is value mentioning that nefarious people might pose as investigators from the NCBON.  The NCBON is conscious of those predators and encourages their regulated inhabitants to contact the Board on to confirm criticism investigations ought to they turn out to be suspicious a few communication purportedly from the NCBON. 

Dealing With a Criticism

When a case is opened, the assigned investigator will contact the nurse in writing on the deal with supplied to the NCBON.  Conserving the NCBON knowledgeable of a present deal with, telephone quantity, and e-mail deal with is the obligation of each nurse licensed in North Carolina.  It turns into necessary ought to the NCBON have to contact the nurse concerning a criticism. 

All the time reply if contacted by NCBON.  Failure to answer an inquiry of the NCBON can itself end in motion by them.  Failure to reply additionally doesn’t cease the investigation from continuing, even to a full listening to, earlier than the board members within the nurse’s absence.  Likewise, shifting to a different state in hopes of avoiding an investigation might solely make issues worse.  All boards of nursing in the US talk via a coordinated licensure system referred to as Nursys®.  Nursys® permits real-time notification to boards of nursing on issues from preliminary licensure to suspension of a license pursuant to a disciplinary investigation.  Failure to answer the investigation is essentially the most assured technique to have the license suspended.  Most, if not all, states have the power of their legislation to take reciprocal motion to impose the identical sanction.  This may end up in a domino impact of reciprocal motion in different states the place a license is held.

Through the investigation, nurses ought to stay skilled and respectful with NCBON workers and board members.  It is very important stay aware of any deadline for a response or info requested.  An interview with the investigator will seemingly be provided, and the nurse must be truthful, cooperative, and never argumentative.  A nurse who’s remorseful and accepting of poor selections or errors is much extra prone to acquire the advantage of any mitigation in end result from workers or the board members.  On the shut of an investigation, authorized and investigative workers will decide what motion is required.  They are going to weigh what sanction is essentially the most applicable to fulfill the remediation elements and seriousness of the actions of the nurse.  Typically that could be a personal letter of concern, a remediation course, or a restricted probationary license, and generally that could be a suspension of the license for a time frame. 

Find out how to Reply Strategically to a Menace to your Skilled License

The NCBON doesn’t present an lawyer to nurses going through allegations.  Nonetheless, it’s the proper of each nurse to have this illustration ought to they select to retain knowledgeable licensing lawyer for this objective.  Insurance coverage typically is on the market to assist defray the expense of hiring an lawyer, however it virtually at all times have to be bought earlier than the conduct complained about came about. 

Attorneys educated of the legislation of nursing regulation could be very useful in navigating what could also be one of the nerve-racking instances in a nurse’s profession.  Skilled attorneys can present helpful help at each stage within the course of.  For instance, an lawyer can help a nurse with making ready the nurse’s preliminary response to the NCBON.  It will be sure that the nurse makes first impression.  Equally, attorneys could be very useful in making ready a nurse for interviews with investigators after which attending these interviews with the nurse.  Attorneys who commonly work with the NCBON perceive what forms of questions could also be requested throughout interviews and the right way to finest present truthful solutions to these questions.

Briefly, a nurse doesn’t need to undergo the NCBON investigation course of alone.  The Skilled Licensing attorneys at Ward and Smith are prepared to assist nurses navigate this course of to allow them to acquire the absolute best end result.


© 2022 Ward and Smith, P.A. For additional info concerning the problems described above, please contact Amy G. Fitzhugh, Justin T. Hill or Joseph A. Schouten.

This text just isn’t supposed to present, and shouldn’t be relied upon for, authorized recommendation in any explicit circumstance or truth state of affairs. No motion must be taken in reliance upon the data contained on this article with out acquiring the recommendation of an lawyer.

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