Can a Nurse Continue to Work if Suspended by the Arizona Nursing Board?
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 is not able to practice safely, they can initiate a summary suspension.
A summary suspension can occur when the Board believes that the 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
Suspension Work Implications
If the Board grants the summary suspension of a nurse’s license; the nurse must immediately cease providing care as 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 complaints are 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 process and the appeal process work like this: The AZBON receives a complaint or initiates an investigation into the conduct of the nurse (like a ucna, lna, cna). Once the board receives a complaint or self-report they will then initiate an investigation (like if a patient in Phoenix files information putting a nurse certificate at risk). The purpose of this investigation is to give the AZBON evidence to make a decision on whether or not 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 an Arizona Nursing Board Hearing with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearing. An Administrative Law Judge will then oversee the appeal and the nurse may need to attend a hearing. However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to hearing or an informal settlement conference can be held.
One thing for an advanced practice nurse to consider is How a Practice Restriction Could Cost an Arizona Nurse Practitioner Their DEA Registration. If an Arizona nurse practitioner is placed on probation by the Arizona Board of Nursing 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 Agency (“DEA”). The DEA may deny, suspend or revoke a practitioner’s DEA registration for the following reasons:
- A 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 protocol. When taking an 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, if there is enough evidence that gives rise to “an imminent danger”, then these emergency situations are considered and will issue simultaneous immediate suspensions as well as orders for show cause while still having time-sensitive deadlines afterward, so everything goes smoothly.
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.