If you are a nurse in Arizona, you may have questions about how the Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBON) handles an Arizona Board of Nursing Complaint and investigation. A registered nurse (RN), nurse practitioner (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or nursing programs may find themselves at the center of a complaint and or investigation of their license or certificate. Complaints can come from a patient, employer or even another nurse. While investigations can occur because of a criminal conviction, a disciplinary action by another state’s nursing board or the self-report a substance abuse problem.
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Responding to State of Arizona Complaints and Investigations
After receiving a complaint or self-report, a nurse receives an Investigative Questionnaire and notice from the Board requesting additional information as well as a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the AZBON assigns an investigator to the complaint and they begin to collect evidence. The documents and evidence collected includes:
- Patient medical records
- Employment files from the nurses employer and business
- Criminal records
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint or nursing program. (These interviewees can include the patient, nursing director, colleagues, etc.)
Board of Nursing Complaint Appeal
Once the Arizona Board of Nursing receives all necessary documents and statements, as well as any evidence, the Board will review the case and vote on a decision. The Board of Nursing members may also choose to close the case or file formal charges. If they file formal charges (for instance, due to the denial of a nurse’s application for licensure), they will refer the investigation to an administrative hearing. This hearing is then held in front of an administrative law judge at the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings.
Arizona Board of Nursing Disciplinary Actions
If the Board determines formal disciplinary action is necessary (for instance, failing to report a misdemeanor charge or conviction) it will happen after the completion of an investigation. It’s the job of the Board to review any complaint alleging a violation within the scope 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 (they do not utilize a disciplinary committee) can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome (which is not generally public) or vote to offer the nurse formal discipline, such as:
- CASE DISMISSAL: The Board of Nursing may dismiss a case if they determine there wasn’t a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern the nurse’s conduct wasn’t ideal. However, the conduct doesn’t necessarily violate the Nurse Practice Act.
- ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY: The board may impose an administrative penalty to nurses of no more than $1,000.
- 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 has ended the nurse will need reapply for their license. Should the nurse reapply for their license they’ll need to demonstrate that the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions etc.) are no longer an issue.
- 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. Usually this is between two to 3 years.
- SUSPENSION: Suspension stops the nurse from practicing for a period of time until the Board of Nursing lifts the suspension.
- PROBATION: This is offered through a Consent Agreement. It requires the nurse to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, the nurse must 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: Similar to a Decree of Censure, but the nurse can be fined (up to $1000 per violation). The Civil Penalty is listed for a period of five years as well.
If you’re interested in setting up a consultation with Chelle Law (BBB listed) or learning more about any of our Board of Nursing services reach out to us today.