How Do I Report an Arizona Nurse For Unprofessional Behavior? | Nursing Conduct
So, how do I report an Arizona nurse for unprofessional behavior? If someone would like to file a complaint against a nurse licensed in Arizona, they must first determine if the alleged conduct is reportable.
Here is a link to the Board’s website where an individual can file a complaint: Submit a Complaint.
Arizona Nursing Complaint
The Arizona Board of Nursing will not investigate the following behaviors:
- Rudeness to peers
- Co-worker disputes
- Personality conflicts
- Labor-management disputes such as work schedules/wages/wrongful termination
- Resignation without notice whereby a patient assignment has not been accepted.
Reportable Nurse Conduct
Below is a list of conduct that one can report:
- Information that a nurse or certificate holder may be mentally or physically unable to practice nursing or perform nursing-related duties safely
- Conduct involving practicing beyond the scope of practice of the license or certificate. Examples include:
- Knowingly giving a medication not authorized by a treating provider.
- Obtaining laboratory or other tests not authorized by a treating provider
- Unauthorized adjusting of dosage
- Conduct that leads to the dismissal for unsafe nursing practice or conduct or other unprofessional conduct
- Conduct that appears to be a contributing factor to high risk/harm to a patient that required medical intervention
- Conduct that appears to be a contributing factor to the death of a patient
- Conduct involving the misuse of alcohol or other chemical substances to the extent that nursing practice may be impaired or may be detrimentally impacted
- Actual or suspected drug diversion
- A pattern of failure to account for medications; failing to account for wastage of control drugs
- Falsification of medical or treatment records
- A pattern of inappropriate judgment or nursing skill
- Failing to assess or intervene on behalf of the patient(s)
- Conduct involving sexual contact with a patient, patient family member, or other dual relationships
- Conduct involving physical/verbal patient abuse
- Conduct involving misappropriation, theft, or exploitation of a patient
- Practicing nursing without a valid nursing license
- Violation of a disciplinary sanction imposed on the nurse’s license by the Board
- Conduct that deceives, defrauds or harms the public.
Arizona Nursing Board Investigations
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 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
In Arizona, after the Board of Nursing receives a complaint, they 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.
State Board Complaint Appeal
Once the Arizona Board of Nursing receives all the necessary documents, statements, and evidence, the Board will review the case and vote on a decision. The Board of Nursing members may also close the case or file formal charges.
They will refer the investigation to an administrative hearing if they file formal charges (for instance, due to the denial of a nurse’s application for licensure). They hold the Arizona Nursing Board Appeals and hearing in front of an administrative law judge at the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings.
Arizona Board of Nursing Disciplinary 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 complaint alleging 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.
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 Arizona State Board of Nursing may dismiss a case if they determine there wasn’t a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern the nurse’s conduct wasn’t ideal. However, the behavior doesn’t necessarily violate the Nurse Practice Act.
- ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY: The Board may impose an administrative penalty to nurses of no more than $1,000.
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a nurse’s license, the nurse will be unable to practice for a minimum of five years. After the five-year period has ended, the nurse will need to reapply for their license. Should the nurse reapply for their license, they’ll need to demonstrate that the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions, etc.) are no longer an issue.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The nurse voluntarily gives up their license. The benefit of a voluntary surrender is that the Board is usually willing to reduce the time until a nurse can reapply. Usually, this is between two to 3 years.
- SUSPENSION: Suspension stops the nurse from practicing until the Board of Nursing lifts the suspension.
- PROBATION: The nurse receives an Arizona Nursing Board Probation through a Consent Agreement. The nurse must do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Alternatively, the nurse must refrain from doing things (unsupervised nursing like home health, working under the Nursing Licensure Compact, using alcohol, etc.).
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A decree of censure is the lowest level of formal discipline. There are no probationary requirements, but they will list the Order on the website for five years.
- CIVIL PENALTY: Similar to a Decree of Censure, the nurse can be fined (up to $1000 per violation). The Civil Penalty is listed for five years as well.
Will Having an Attorney Make You Look Guilty to The Arizona Nursing Board?
The State of Arizona’s Right to Counsel
No, having an attorney represent you before the Arizona Board of Nursing will not make you look guilty. The right to counsel is a fundamental right for every nurse licensed in Arizona.
Licensing board defense attorneys focus on regulating occupational licenses handled by governmental boards. These attorneys work mainly in administrative law.
A professional license defense attorney is a crucial part of the legal process in upholding an individual’s occupational licensing. These professionals provide services for individuals charged with unethical behavior or criminal charges and protect their right to work.
The Role of the Arizona Nursing Board Attorney
An occupational license defense lawyer steps in to represent you during these matters, and we can divide their key areas of focus into three categories:
- Application Appeals: defending a person’s occupation application when denied.
- Unprofessional Conduct Defense: representing practicing professionals who have faced discipline because they’ve been accused of professional misconduct, unethical behavior, or crime.
- Hearings: If appealed, a nurse’s case will move forward to the Office of Administrative Hearings in front of an Administrative Law Judge.
Consultation with Chelle Law
Suppose 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.