Arizona Nurse Practice Act (What Does the Nursing Board 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.”
AZ State Nursing Board License
The Arizona State Board licenses and disciplines the following:
- Certified Nursing Assistants
- Licensed Nursing Assistants
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Registered Nurses
- Advanced Practice:
- Nurse Practitioner
- Certified Nurse Midwife
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- School Nurse
Arizona Nurse Practice Act
The 5-Year Plan of the Arizona State Board of Nursing includes the following:
- Assure the governance framework supports the Board’s mission and vision.
- License/certify only qualified nurses and nursing assistants that assure public safety.
- Investigate unsafe or incompetent nurses and licensed/certified nursing assistants; remediate or remove them from practice.
- Review and approve or sanction nursing education programs consistent with Board rules.
- Ensure nursing regulations are up-to-date and reflect state of art & science of practice.
Chelle Law assists nurses under investigation by the Arizona Board of Nursing.
Arizona Nursing Board Complaint
If you are a nurse in Arizona, you may have questions about how the Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBN) handles an Arizona Board of Nursing Complaint and investigation. A registered nurse (RN), nurse practitioner (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), or nursing programs may find themselves at the center of a complaint and or investigation of their license or certificate.
Complaints can come from a patient, employer, or even another nurse. While investigations can occur because of a criminal conviction, disciplinary action by another state’s nursing board, or the self-report of a substance abuse problem.
Responding to 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 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.)
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.
Board of Nursing’s Disciplinary Action for Nurses
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.
Arizona Nursing Board License Renewal
Having a professional license means renewing it on a regular basis. This applies to RNs, LPNs, and other nursing licenses. In the case of nurses, there are strict requirements a nurse must meet and keep track of in order to keep their license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Perhaps the most important requirement is remembering renewal dates as failing to renew on time can have serious consequences.
AZ Nursing License Renewal
APRNs, RN, and LPNs must apply every four years 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 that 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.
Once a nurse decides to renew their license, they must include a verified statement with their application for renewal. This statement declares whether or not the nurse has been convicted of a felony. If there is a conviction, it must also include the date of discharge from the sentence. After submitting the above and having it approved for renewal, the nurse will get an active renewal license for the next four years.
Arizona Board Renewal Requirements for LPNs and RNs and more
Of the listed requirements listed for renewal, applicants must only meet one of them. These practice requirements are:
- The nurse must have practiced for 960 hours or more in the last five years.
- Within the past five years, they must have graduated from a nursing program and received a degree.
- In the past five years, they must have completed a refresher course approved by an Arizona Board.
- The practicing individual must have obtained an advanced nursing degree Nursing Assistant License Renewal in the last five years.
Licenses Renewal for Nurse Assistant
The rules for a nursing assistant are a bit different. In Arizona, nursing assistant must renew their certification every two years. To renew their license, they have until the last day of their birth month and must pay a $25 renewal fee. Every year the license fails to be renewed, there is a late fee of $25, with a cap of $100.
Like a registered nurse and practical nurse, a nursing assistant must include a verified statement. If there is a felony conviction, it must also include the date of discharge from the sentence. Once approved, the nursing assistant will have their license for two years from the last day of their birth month.
Advanced Practice Nurses (APRNs)
Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, or Clinical Nurse Specialist’s certifications expire when their RN license expires.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)
CRNA privileges expire when their RN license expires. The Board must receive official certification/re-certification from the National Board on Certification & Re-certification of Nurse Anesthetists to renew CRNA privileges.
Certified Medication Assistants License Renewal
Certified Medication Assistants (CMAs) have to renew their nursing medication certification every two years by the last day of their birth month. They must have worked doing medication assistant duties for at least 160 hours in the past two years.
The inactive list is a list of nurses who are not practicing and thus do not need to pay renewal fees. Any licensed and in good standing nurse can request to be on this list. To begin practicing again, the nurse must submit a renewal application with fees, including the verified statement regarding any felony convictions. Once approved, they can practice again.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Nursing Board Complaint services and how to protect your nursing rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney. Reach out to us today.