Can a Nurse Continue to Work if Suspended by the Arizona Nursing Board? | License Suspension
The answer is No.
A nurse cannot work as a nurse if their license is suspended. 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. If the Board believes a nurse cannot practice safely, they can initiate a summary suspension.
Actions that Can Lead to 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.
Examples of actions that can lead to a summary suspension:
- Substance Abuse
- Sexual Misconduct
- Mental Health Concerns
- Refusal to Follow Board Order
Suspended Nursing License
If the Board grants the summary suspension of a nurse’s license, the nurse must immediately cease providing care as a nurse. A hearing will then be scheduled (within 60 days) in front of an Administrative Law Judge at the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings.
It’s always disappointing when a nurse receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBON).
However, nurses in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Board of Nursing appeals and hearings after an Arizona Nursing Board Complaint is heard.
If you are facing an unfavorable AZBON outcome due to an Arizona Board of Nursing disciplinary action, you can always appeal the decision (for instance, after LPN discipline).
Filing an Appeal after a Nursing Board Meeting
The investigatory and appeal process for an Arizona Nursing Board Hearing works 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).
The 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.
Nurse Practitioner DEA Registration
An advanced practice nurse must consider 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
Show Cause Order
The DEA can’t take action without following the protocol. When taking action against someone’s registration to sell controlled substances, it must first serve them with a show cause order before issuing any orders for suspension or revocation.
However, suppose there is enough evidence that gives rise to “an imminent danger.”
Then, these emergency situations are considered and will issue simultaneous immediate suspensions and orders for show cause while still having time-sensitive deadlines afterward, so everything goes smoothly.
- 2 Ways to Overcome a Summary Suspension
- 3 Ways the Board Can Suspend Your License
- Arizona Nursing Board Hearing
- Arizona Nursing License Suspension
- How a Practice Restriction Could Cost a Nurse Practitioner Their DEA Registration
- Will a Nurse Be Placed on the OIG List after a Voluntarily Surrender?
Arizona Nursing License Suspension
Nurses contact our office and frequently ask our attorneys if state law allows the Arizona State Board of Nursing to suspend a nurse’s license.
The short answer is yes.
The Board can issue an Arizona Nursing License Suspension based upon ARS 41-1092.11.
That statute states nurses can be suspended (and ultimately have their license revoked):
“B. Revocation, suspension, annulment or withdrawal of any license is not lawful unless, before the action, the agency provides the licensee with notice and an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with this article. If the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in its order, the agency may order a summary suspension of a license pending proceedings for revocation or other action. These proceedings shall be promptly instituted and determined.”
Reasons for a Nursing License Suspension
So, in short, yes.
The Arizona Board of Nursing can suspend your license if it determines you are an immediate threat to the public’s health, safety, and welfare.
Some usual reasons for a nursing license suspension include the following:
- Diverting narcotics.
- Healthcare problems.
- Criminal issues (felony, misdemeanor).
- Past disciplinary issues.
- Substance abuse (alcohol, prescription medications, illegal drugs).
- Sexual misconduct.
- Mental health disorders necessitating immediate action.
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.
AZ State Nursing Board License
The Arizona State Board licenses and disciplines the following:
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNB)
- Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNA)
- Licensed Practical Nurses (LPA)
- Registered Nurses (RN)
- Advanced Practice:
- Nurse Practitioner
- Certified Nurse Midwife
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- School Nurse
Arizona Nurse Practice Act
The 5-Year Plan of the Arizona State Board of Nursing includes the following:
- Assure governance framework supports the Board’s mission and vision
- License/certify only qualified nurses and nursing assistants that assure public safety.
- Investigate unsafe or incompetent nurses and licensed/certified nursing assistants; remediate or remove them from practice.
- Review and approve or sanction nursing education programs consistent with Board rules.
- Ensure nursing regulations are up-to-date and reflect a state-of-the-art & science of practice.
If you are a nurse in Arizona, you may have questions about how the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) 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, disciplinary action by another state’s nursing board, or the self-report of a substance abuse problem.
Arizona Nursing Board Investigations | Complaints Against a Nurse
After receiving a complaint or self-report, a nurse gets an Investigative Questionnaire and notice from the Board requesting additional information and a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the AZBON assigns an investigator, and they begin to collect evidence.
The documents and evidence collected include the following:
- 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.)
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.
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.