A recent study suggests that nursing boards are becoming increasingly aggressive in pursuing disciplinary action against nursing professionals. The authors’ research shows that there’s even been a shift in what they’re disciplining nurses for. It also seems that professional licensing board members are becoming less understanding of nurse’s justifications for their oversights.
You may benefit from reading more about some of the shifts that analysts are noticing in handling disciplinary action in the nursing field. This insight may help you as you prepare to defend your license.
What are some emerging disciplinary action trends that nurses are facing?
Many nursing professionals face complaints about ethical concerns that cast doubt on their ability to exercise sound judgment or adequately take care of their patients. Nursing professionals are facing increased scrutiny for other factors today, such as:
- Making public disclosures of safety concerns
- Having conflicts with their superiors
- Skipping a child support payment
- Accepting gifts from patients
A representative with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and other board advocates argue that they don’t think these reasons for disciplining nurses are as frivolous as nurses and others might find them to be. They say that doing this helps boards achieve their goals, such as keeping nurses accountable and ensuring public safety.
Disciplinary action against nurses is increasing
Data compiled in the National Practitioner Data Bank shows that boards have steadily increased the number of adverse actions they have taken against registered nurses (RNs) in recent years. There were 14,092 cases in 2012. Those rose to 16,190 by 2016. 2019 was the last year for which statistics are currently available. There was only a small reduction in cases over the 2016 number.
Board members are becoming less empathetic when nurses are facing disciplinary action
There’s an alarming trend where boards open cases, yet they delay trials. That can leave nurses’ futures in limbo, sometimes for years without any resolution. One board representative in another state who left that state’s licensing board noted that it’s a common practice for board members to assume a nurse’s guilt pre-trial, so it’s often a futile effort to try to defend oneself in such instances.
You shouldn’t let the hard work that you put in to earn your license be thrown away over unfounded allegations, though. An attorney can advise you of defense strategies that you can employ to try to retain your license.