A nurse may receive a Arizona Board of Nursing Investigation Letter if a complaint has been filed against a nurse in Arizona. The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) is given wide-ranging investigative powers when determining whether to discipline licensed or certified nurses practicing in Arizona. The Board has the power to suspend, revoke or limit a nurse’s license or certificate after it has completed an investigation.
If the Board concludes, after an investigation, that reasonable grounds exist to bring disciplinary action against a nurse, the Board will serve the nurse with written notice of the possible disciplinary action. The written notice will contain:
- The facts gathered by the investigator along with the specific rules or statutes that the Board believes were violated.
- A request that the nurse rebuts or explains why the Board should not take disciplinary action.
A nurse must submit a written appeal and a request for an administrative hearing within 30 days from the service of the notice letter or the Board will consider all of the allegations admitted and the Board will take disciplinary action. The hearing is conducted by the Office of Administrative Hearings before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ“). The hearing is not as formal as a trial, but it is similar. Each party will present evidence using documents or sworn testimony. Each party also gives an opening statement and a closing argument which should explain why the judge should rule one way or the other. The attorney can cross examine witnesses and testify on her own behalf. After the hearing, the ALJ will review the transcripts, evidence and make a recommendation to the Board.
No nurse should fail to ask for a hearing to explain the facts surrounding the investigation. Arizona law allows anyone under investigation before the Board to have an attorney present at the hearing. The hearing will give the nurse and their attorney an opportunity to explain their side of the story and hopefully minimize any disciplinary action taken.
Know your rights! Contact an attorney and request a hearing. Do not let the Board pass judgment without hearing your side of the story first. If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing Investigation Letter contact Chelle Law.