Arizona Nursing Board Hearing | AZ Attorneys
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 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.
Arizona 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.
Nurse 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 the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in its order, the agency may order summary suspension of a license pending proceedings for revocation or other action. These proceedings shall be promptly instituted and determined.”
Common 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.
Board Meeting Minutes
Nurses who hold a license or certification in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the AZ Board of Nursing. If the Board determines formal disciplinary action is necessary, it will happen after the completion of an investigation.
It’s the job of the Board to review any complaint alleging a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act and Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Nursing Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation.
Therefore, one may need a defense attorney. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the nurse formal discipline at the meeting. A nurse can always review the minutes of a Board Meeting.
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AZ State Board of Nursing Non-Disciplinary Practice 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 allegation of 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. Therefore, one may need a defense attorney.
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 may dismiss a complaint if they determine the information indicates there was not a violation of the rules of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act. This outcome is not available to the public.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Bd expressing concern that the nurse’s conduct was not ideal. However, the behavior does not necessarily violate the Nurse Practice Act or Bd policy, and no further contact is needed. It will likely not affect future licensure or if the nurse wishes further their education in an advanced program. The license verification does not show this.
- ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY: The AZ State Bd of Nursing may impose an administrative penalty of not more than one thousand dollars with verified complaints. They may impose the penalty for any of the following (this is not an all-inclusive list):
- Failing to timely renew a nursing license while continuing to practice nursing services.
- Failing to contact the board in writing within thirty days after an address change.
Consultation with Chelle Law
Retaining qualified legal counsel to represent individuals who wish to file an appeal is crucial.
Having an attorney with experience working on your behalf means having the help you need to draft an appeal. It also means having an attorney on your side that will help to ensure you have explored all avenues of defense. Having a complaint against you or working with a Board of Nursing Investigator is challenging enough. Our attorneys help protect your professional license and maneuver these complex legal proceedings.
If you’re interested in learning more about Arizona Nursing Board Criminal History laws and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney. Reach out to us today.