2 Ways to Overcome a Summary Suspension with the Arizona Nursing Board
Examples of Summary Suspension
If the Arizona Board of Nursing believes a nurse cannot practice safely, they can initiate a summary suspension.
The legal standard in Arizona is that public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action necessitating the immediate suspension of a nurse’s license.
Examples of actions that can lead to a summary suspension:
- Substance Abuse
- Sexual Misconduct
- Mental Health Concerns
- Refusal to Follow Board Order
Arizona Nursing Board Summary Suspension Meeting
The Board will oversee the summary suspension proceeding and vote on whether to suspend the nurse’s license.
Two ways to avoid the summary suspension include:
- Consent Agreement: Agree to and sign a Consent Agreement before the Summary Suspension proceeding. If the nurse can agree to a Consent Agreement without suspension, the Board will likely accept the signed Consent Agreement.
- Convince the Board: The nurse (or their attorney) would attempt to convince the Board that the legal standard is not met and a summary suspension is unnecessary.
Nursing Board License Suspension
There are three ways the Arizona Nursing Board can Suspend Your License. The Arizona State Board of Nursing (“Board”) protects the medical welfare of the people of Arizona. They do this by ensuring each professional who holds a license as a nurse in Arizona can practice safely.
The Board can suspend a nurse’s license in a number of different ways.
- Summary Suspension: A summary suspension can occur when the Board believes that public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action necessitating the immediate suspension of a nurse’s license.
- ATD Discharge: The Alternative to Discipline program is a non-disciplinary, confidential monitoring program for nurses with substance abuse, mental health, or physical problems. A nurse who violates their ATD Agreement can have their license suspended immediately.
- Automatic Suspension from Probation Violation: If a nurse is currently completing a Stayed Suspension Consent Agreement, the board can automatically suspend their license for violation of the terms of the Consent Agreement.
Suspended Nurse Work Implications
If the Board suspends a nurse’s license, the nurse must immediately cease providing care as a nurse.
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Nursing Board Appeals services and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney. Reach out to us today.
How a Practice Restriction Could Cost an Arizona Nurse Practitioner Their DEA Registration
Suppose the Arizona Board of Nursing has placed an Arizona nurse practitioner on probation. In that case, the probation can sometimes include a practice restriction that limits or completely stops the nurse practitioner from prescribing controlled substances for a period.
These restrictions are generally reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”).
The DEA may deny, suspend or revoke a practitioner’s DEA registration for the following reasons:
- Falsified DEA Registration Application
- A state license has been placed on probation, suspended, revoked, or denied
- Excluded from participation in Medicare or Medicaid programs
- Convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance
- Committed an act that is inconsistent with the public interest
Automatic Suspension from Probation Violation
If a nurse is currently completing a Stayed Suspension Consent Agreement, the board can automatically suspend their license for violation of the terms of the Consent Agreement.
Filing an Appeal after a Nursing Board Meeting
The investigatory process and the appeal process for an Arizona Nursing Board Hearing work like this:
The AZBON receives a complaint or investigates the nurse’s conduct (like a UCNA, LNA, or CNA). Once the Board receives a complaint or self-report, they will initiate an investigation (like if a patient in Phoenix files information, putting a nurse certificate at risk).
This investigation aims to give the AZBON evidence to decide whether a nurse should face disciplinary action (for instance, due to reporting a misdemeanor charge or conviction).
If the nurse receives an unfavorable decision, it is at this point they can then file an appeal and request a hearing with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearing. An Administrative Law Judge will oversee the appeal, and the nurse may need to attend a hearing.
However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to a hearing, or an informal settlement conference can be held.
Nursing Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any professional nurse licensee may request a legal appeal of an Arizona State Board f Nursing disciplinary action to an administrative law judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), located in Phoenix. In some instances, a case is sent automatically to OAH. The OAH conducts the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
The administrative process 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 lawyer can cross-examine witnesses and testify on his or their behalf.
After completing it, the ALJ reviews the transcripts and evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board decides to accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If an individual feels there has been a mistake, they can request a rehearing.
Arizona Nursing Board Investigations | Complaints Against a Nurse
After receiving a complaint or self-report, a nurse gets an Investigative Questionnaire and a notice from the Board requesting additional information and a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBON) assigns an investigator to the complaint, and they begin to collect evidence.
The documents and evidence collected include the following:
- Patient medical records
- Employment files from the nurse’s 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.)
Arizona State Board of Nursing Investigation Notice
When a nurse receives a Board of Nursing Investigation Notice, it’s crucial for them to understand the process and how an attorney can help.
When the Board of Nursing receives a complaint against a nurse, they will investigate the problem. It allows them to fully determine whether or not they need to discipline the practicing nurse. Depending on the results of the investigation, the Board can suspend, limit or revoke the nurse’s license or certificate.
Formal Written Notice
After receiving a complaint, the Board of Nursing will send a formal written notice to the nurse, also known as an Arizona Nursing Board Investigation Notice. This notice lets them know their case is under investigation. The notice contains facts gathered by the investigator and the rules or statutes that the nurse possibly violated.
The Board wants the nurse to explain why the Board shouldn’t take disciplinary action. After receiving their notice, the nurse should request a hearing within 30 days.
Will Your Boss Know If You Are on Probation With the Arizona Nursing Board?
Yes, any probation (via a Consent Agreement) from the Arizona Nursing Board requires that your employer knows the terms of your probation.
Any Arizona nurse on probation must provide a copy of the entire Consent Agreement and Order on or before the hire date. If the nurse is currently employed when signing the Consent Agreement, they must provide a copy within three days from the order’s effective date.
Letter to the Arizona Nursing Board
If currently employed, the nurse shall cause their immediate supervisor to inform the Board in writing and on employer letterhead, acknowledgment of the supervisor’s receipt of a copy of the Consent Agreement and the employer’s ability to comply with the conditions of probation.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Nursing Board Complaint services and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney. Reach out to us today.