Is a Letter of Concern from the Arizona Board of Nursing Public?
So, is a letter of concern from the Arizona Board of Nursing Public? The answer would be a Yes and No. A letter of concern is not considered formal discipline and is not reported to NURSYS (the national database for verification of nurse licensure). So, a letter of concern would never show up if an employer were to verify your license on NURSYS.
What is a Letter of Concern?
A letter of concern from the Arizona Board of Nursing is a letter sent to the nurse that expresses concern that the nurse’s conduct was not ideal; however, the conduct does not necessarily violate the Nurse Practice Act.
However, a letter of concern is subject to Arizona Public Records Law and if someone were to specifically request a nurse’s disciplinary or non-disciplinary history the Board would be required to provide it. That scenario would be extremely rare and should not cause concern for the nurse.
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.
National Practitioner Database (NPDB) Discipline
So, When is Discipline from the Arizona Nursing Board Removed From the NPDB? Formal discipline from the Arizona Board of Nursing is never removed from the National Practitioner Database (“NPDB”). The NPDB is a web-based repository of reports containing information on medical malpractice payments and certain adverse actions related to health care practitioners, providers, and suppliers. Many employers will run an NPDB report prior to hiring a nurse.
Disciplinary Actions Imposed by the Arizona Board of Nursing
- Voluntary Surrender
- Probation (Consent Agreement)
- Civil Penalty
- Decree of Censure
Arizona Nurses Complaint
Any form of discipline a nurse receives from the Arizona Board of Nursing depends upon the violation. In fact, there’s a whole range of disciplines that can occur. Not only can a license be revoked, but there can also be a denial of certification or licensure. There can also be civil penalties. Sometimes the board requires a voluntary surrender of license or a probation period.
Published Discipline Report (RN, LPN, LNA, NP)
The Arizona Board of Nursing publishes a report detailing Arizona Nursing Regulatory Journal Disciplinary Action of all disciplinary action regarding licensed nursing assistants (LNA), registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN) and Nurse Practitioners in the Arizona State Board of Nursing Quarterly Regulatory Journal (Journal). The Report not only lists currently licensed or certified nurses, but any applicants or re-applicants that have been denied certification or licensure.
Every time a disciplinary action takes place the Arizona Board of Nursing publishes a report. This happens with any RN as well as LPNs and CNA. It also includes applicants denied their certification or licensure. This report goes into the Arizona State Board of Nursing Quarterly Journal. The details of the report include:
- Date of disciplinary action
- Nurse’s name
- Certificate number
- Discipline taken
- Nature of the violation
It is of concern to any nursing professional to have this detailed listing anyone can see.
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 State of Arizona Complaints and Questions
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 and they begin to collect evidence. The documents and evidence collected include:
- 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.)
Nurse Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any professional nursing licensee may request AZ Nursing Board Appeals legal appeal of board discipline to an administrative law judge with the AZ Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) which is located in Phoenix. In some instances, a case is sent automatically to OAH. The OAH hearing is conducted 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 attorney can cross-examine witnesses and testify on his or her behalf. After it is completed, the ALJ reviews the transcripts and evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board makes the decision to either accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If an individual feels there has been a mistake they can request a rehearing.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Nursing Board Discipline services and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney reach out to us today.