The job of the Arizona Board of Nursing is to protect and promote the welfare of the people of Arizona. They do this by ensuring each person who holds a license as a nurse in Arizona is able to practice safely. This means the Arizona Board of Nursing has the authority to discipline the license of any nurse. Chelle Law’s Arizona Board of Nursing attorney’s have represented over 600 nurses and have the experience needed to help nurses with Arizona Board of Nursing matters.
- Registered Nurses (RN)
- Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Nurse Practitioners (NP)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Who can file a complaint against a nurse? Patients, Health Care Facilities, other nurses, among others. When the Arizona Board of Nursing receives a complaint the Board initiates an investigation into the complaint (if the Board has jurisdiction and the Complaint isn’t dismissed). After this happens, the nurse receives notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial. This is because a nurse must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at a Arizona Board of Nursing Meeting.
Applicants to the Arizona Board of Nursing who have a criminal history or previous discipline by the Arizona Board of Nursing (or any other Nursing Board) may be subject to denial of their application for licensure. Thus, those with a criminal or disciplinary history from other licensing boards will be investigated by the Arizona Board of Nursing.
Nurses who currently hold a valid license with the Arizona Board of Nursing or pending applicants must notify the board of nursing of any criminal charge that may affect patient safety within ten (10) business days. Learn what crimes an individual must report and the potential discipline that can come with it.
Alternative to Discipline Program
The Alternative to Discipline Program (ATD) is the Board’s non-disciplinary, confidential monitoring program for Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Nurse Practitioners and CRNAs licensed in Arizona. The ATD Program is for nurses with medical problems, substance use disorders or mental health conditions. Nurses who wish to participate in the ATD program must voluntarily request entry and meet the certain eligibility criteria.
Any licensee may request an appeal of an Arizona Board of Nursing disciplinary action to an administrative law judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). In some instances, a case is sent automatically to hearing. The administrative hearing is conducted by OAH before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The hearing is not as formal as a trial, but is similar. Each party presents evidence using documents or sworn testimony. Each party also gives an opening and closing argument which should explain why the judge should rule one way or the other. A nurse’s attorney can cross examine witnesses and testify on his or her behalf. After the hearing, the ALJ reviews the transcripts, evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board makes the decision to either accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If n individuals feels there has been a mistake they can request a rehearing.
Nurses who hold a license or certification in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the Arizona Board of Nursing. If the Board determines formal disciplinary action is necessary it will happen after the completion of an investigation. It’s the job of the Board to review any complaint alleging a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act. Thus, at an Arizona Nursing Board Meeting the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the nurse formal discipline.
Examples of Formal Discipline Include:
- CASE DISMISSAL: The Board may dismiss a case if they determine there was not a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern that the nurse’s conduct was not ideal; however, the conduct does not necessarily violate the Nurse Practice Act.
- ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY: The board may impose an administrative penalty of not more than one thousand dollars.
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a nurse’s license the nurse will be unable to practice for a minimum of five years. After the five year period the nurse will have to reapply for their license after the five year period has ended. If the nurse reapplies for licensure the nurse must must demonstrate that the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions) has been rectified.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The nurse voluntarily gives up their license. The benefit of a voluntary surrender is that the Board is usually willing to reduce the amount of time until a nurse can reapply (between 2 to 3 years).
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the nurse from practicing as a nurse for a period of time until the Board lifts the suspension.
- PROBATION: Probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the nurse to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (unsupervised nursing like home health, working under the Nursing Licensure Compact, using alcohol, etc.).
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A decree of censure is the lowest level of formal discipline. There are no probationary requirements, but the Order will be listed on the website for a five year period.
- CIVIL PENALTY: This is similar to a Decree of Censure. The difference is a nurse can receive a fine (up to $1000 per violation). The Civil Penalty is listed for a period of five years as well.