Arizona Nursing Board 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.
Any time a nurse receives a complaint and a written notice of such, they should always ask for a hearing. At the hearing, the nurse and attorney can give their side of the story and avoid or minimize disciplinary action. Investigations can take up to seven months or more. This timeline depends on how severe the allegations are. They can complete cases involving high risk or harm to a patient in less than a month.
Don’t Take the Complaint and Investigation Too Lightly
Sometimes a nurse may feel the complaint isn’t a big deal. However, whether true or not, a nurse’s reputation and entire career can be on the line. How a nurse responds to a board of nursing investigation notice can critically affect the case and its outcome.
If you’re a nurse with a written notice of investigation, you may not know how to respond. Understanding why failing to respond may have dire consequences can be critical to the case’s outcome. In the notice, you’ll see a deadline to reply to the allegations in the complaint.
If you don’t know how to respond effectively, obtaining an attorney’s help composing your statement can be crucial. Suffice it to say if you ignore, delay or dismiss your response to the complaint. It might be a critical mistake.
Don’t Discuss Your Case with Anyone but an Attorney
After receiving a notice of a complaint, you may feel like venting to friends or co-workers. It is a bad idea. To avoid damaging your case or worsening things, you should keep matters to yourself.
Remember, any of your co-workers or friends you speak with may be witnesses in your case. Also, refer every question you receive to your attorney.
Right to Legal Help
Since the results of a Board of Nursing investigation can potentially ruin your career, it’s wise to seek professional help to protect your license. Having an attorney with experience in defending state licenses means having the help you need to craft a response to a board of nursing investigation and a good defense to prevent you from losing your license. Keep your career on track and exert your rights.
Nursing License Renewal: APRN, RN and LPN
Arizona Nursing License Renewal happens every four years. APRNs, RN, and LPNs must apply to renew their license. The sooner a nurse renews their license, the less expensive it is. For example, a nurse who renews their license on time (by April 1) pays a $160 fee.
Should they decide to wait on renewing, or if there is a delay, and they renew by May 1, the fee becomes $210. Each month there is a lapse in renewing the license. There is an additional late fee of $50. This fee caps out at $200. If the license fails to be renewed by August 1, it will expire.
Arizona State Board Administrative Appeal and Hearing Litigation
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.
Responding to State of AZ Complaints and Questions
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 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.)
State Board Complaint Appeal
Once the AZ 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 then hold this AZ Nursing Board Appeals hearing in front of an administrative law judge at the AZ Office of Administrative Hearings.
What Does the Arizona State Board of Nursing Do?
The published Mission Statement of the Arizona Board of Nursing states:
“The mission of the Arizona State Board of Nursing is to protect and promote the welfare of the public by ensuring that each person holding a nursing license or certificate is competent to practice safely. The Board fulfills its mission through the regulation of the practice of nursing and the approval of nursing education programs. The mission, derived from the Nurse Practice Act, supersedes the interest of any individual, the nursing profession, or any special interest group.”
Arizona Nursing License Complaint
Who can file a complaint against a nurse? Patients, Health Care Facilities, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, among others, can contact the Board and allege legal violations. When the Arizona State Board of Nursing receives a complaint, the Board initiates an investigation into the complaint (if the Board has jurisdiction and no one dismissed the complaint), and they open a case.
After this happens, the nurse receives notice, and the AZBN assigns an investigator to the case. Please note that having a lawyer during this step can be crucial and can protect your rights. It is because a nurse must submit a response and interview with the investigator while possibly appearing at an AZ Board of Nursing Meeting. Our office can assist nurses with interpreting Arizona law.
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.