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.
Nurse License Compact
Nurses in Arizona can get a nursing license that’s good for practicing nursing in other states. It can be beneficial as it allows for more job opportunities for the individual. The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) provides for recognition of nursing licenses between the states who are members of this compact in the United States.
The NLC allows nurses to practice in more than one state without additional licenses.
Primary State of Residence
For a Compact license, a nurse must apply in the state that is their primary residence. The primary state of residence is all about the person’s legal residency status. The driver’s license, the person’s voter’s card, and federal income tax returns can show it. It does not have to do with whether or not they own property in the state.
When Arizona is the primary residence, and the nurse gets her nursing license, that license will be valid in other states that are members of the Nurse Licensure Compact. If the nurse obtained a nursing license in a state that was not their primary residence, other Compact states would not recognize that license.
Having one license for all the states within Arizona and the Nurse Licensure Compact (listed below) makes it much easier, less burdensome, and less costly than obtaining single-state licenses in each state where the nurse wants to practice.
This is a list of all NCL states:
- Arizona: Learn more about an Arizona Nursing Board Investigation
- Guam (Guam is allowing nurses who hold active, unencumbered, multi-state licenses issued by Nurse Licensure Compact member states to practice in Guam under their multi-state licenses.)
- Louisiana (Registered Nurse and Practical Nurse)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey (New Jersey is allowing nurses who hold active, unencumbered, multi-state licenses issued by Nurse Licensure Compact member states to practice in New Jersey under their multi-state licenses.)
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Ohio (Law passed and awaiting implementation)
- Pennsylvania (Law passed and awaiting implementation)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Vermont (Implementation starting 2/1/2022)
- West Virginia (Registered Nurse and Practical Nurse)
Compact License vs Multistate License
A Compact license and a multistate license are the same thing. It can get confusing as people often use the terminology interchangeably.
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.
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 notify the nurse. 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 must 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.
Does the Arizona Nursing Board Investigate Every Complaint?
The Arizona Board of Nursing thoroughly investigates nearly every complaint filed with them. Generally, if the allegations contained in a complaint, if proven true, would violate 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.
Can Past Discipline from the Arizona Nursing Board be Removed from Nursys?
No, under current Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) laws, the Board cannot remove past discipline from NURSYS (the national database for verification of nurse licensure). 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 five years. It is no longer the policy.
What Does the Board Consider Discipline?
- Voluntary Surrender
- Probation (Consent Agreement)
- Civil Penalty
- Decree of Censure
Only Two Options for Removal
Per Nursys rules, there are effectively only two ways for a discipline case to be removed or deleted from the database:
- Board Error: If discipline has been attached to your license by error, the Board can correct this and delete the incorrect report.
- Expungement of Case: Arizona Board of Nursing currently does not offer any past disciplinary case expungement. There would need to be a change in Arizona law for this to become an option.
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.”
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:
- 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.
Consultation at 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.