Can a Nurse Continue to Work While Under Investigation with the Arizona Nursing Board?
Yes, a licensed nurse in Arizona can continue to work while under investigation with the Arizona Board of Nursing. If an employer were to verify an Arizona nurse on NURSYS (the national database for verification of nurse licensure), the license would now show that the nurse is currently under investigation. The only time a nurse’s license would show an indication of an investigation would be if the nurse was formally disciplined by the Arizona Nursing Board.
What is NURSYS?
NURSYS is the only national database for verification of nurse licensure, discipline and practice privileges for RNs and LPN/VNs licensed in participating boards of nursing, including all states in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Under current laws, past discipline cannot be removed from NURSYS. In 2018, the Board moved license verification from the Board’s website to NURSYS. Previous Board policy removed all disciplinary actions from a nurse’s record after a five-year period.
Nurse Disciplinary Actions
Examples of formal discipline from the Board include:
- Voluntary Surrender
- Decree Of Censure
- Civil Penalty
Investigation and Complaint into Practice Concerns
So, Does the Arizona Nursing Board Investigate Every Complaint? Nearly every complaint that is filed with the Arizona Board of Nursing is thoroughly investigated. Generally, if the allegations contained in a complaint, if proven true, would be a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act, the Board would investigate. There are two scenarios where the Board does not investigate a complaint:
- The Board lacks jurisdiction over the target of the complaint
- The allegation contained in the complaint would not be a violation of the Nurse Practice Act
After receiving a complaint or self-report, a nurse receives an Investigative Questionnaire and notice from the Board requesting additional information as well as a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the AZBON assigns an investigator to the complaint and they begin to collect evidence. The documents and evidence collected includes:
- 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.)
When a nurse receives a Board of Nursing Investigation Notice it’s important 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 launch an investigation into the problem. This 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.
How Long Does an Investigation Last?
A current investigation with the Arizona Board of Nursing is taking (on average) around 18 months from beginning to end. However, the speed with which an investigation is completed is dependent upon the severity of the case. Each case, when assigned to an investigator, is given a priority level. Higher priority level cases are generally completed faster than lower priority cases. Some cases are so severe that the Board can attempt to suspend a nurse’s license. Some examples of low priority cases would include:
- Low-level criminal charges
- Patient complaints
- Documentation errors
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.