Understanding the Disciplinary Action Process for a Nurse
This letter from the Board of Nursing can be completely unexpected. That’s often how a Florida nurse finds out they are being investigated and considered for disciplinary action. Like any other professional certification sanction, it’s important to understand the disciplinary action process for a nurse in Florida.
The Nurse Practice Act
The Nurse Practice Act was enacted to assure the minimum standards for care in order to ensure patient safety. It also defines the nursing scope of practice. The act lays out grounds for disciplinary action. The list includes actions related to:
- Gross negligence
- Conviction of a criminal offense
- Unprofessional conduct
- Addiction & Improper possession of controlled substance
- Not reporting known Nurse Practice Act violators
What is the Disciplinary Action Process for a Nurse?
There is a specific disciplinary action process for a nurse, as outlined in the Nurse Practice Act. That discipline penalty is enforced or determined based on the severity of the infractions, the recency of it, the current ability to safely practice nursing, evidence of rehabilitation, mitigating circumstances and previous history of discipline.
The Florida statute specifically lists the order of disciplinary actions taken when a violation of the NPA has been determined. Florida allows for specific penalties with any violation determination.
- Sanction: Suspension or revocation of certification
- Fines: Up to $150 for each offense
- Corrective actions: Probation or restriction of certification might additionally be accompanied by mandatory retraining or an approved treatment program.
It is also possible to apply for an exemption for disciplinary action and disqualification of employment. The applicant must be notified within 30 days of the request, once all the necessary documentation has been received by the board.
Intervention Project for Nurses
Addiction, improper or illegal possession of controlled substances and/or the presence of certain mental conditions can make it difficult for a nurse to properly and safely practice nursing. The NPA considers these conditions to be in violation and require discipline; however, these specific violations may be eligible for an alternative to discipline.
If a violator has been reported to the Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN), they can agree to participate. Their file will be temporarily closed, and their violation will remain unreported and without disciplinary actions as the violator completes IPN requirements. If the violator is successful, charges can be dismissed, and their certification remains intact. If they are unsuccessful, the violation will be reported to the Florida Department of Health, and disciplinary measures will be carried out.
Your license is your livelihood. An accusation, a momentary mistake or a struggle to cope with external stresses that result in a license sanction can be devastating to your career and family. Don’t let go of your license without a fight. It’s possible to get through proposed disciplinary action and remain employed and intact professionally, but you have to know how the process works and what to do.
At Tison law Group, our professional certification defense team can make sure your options are clear and you are treated fairly. Don’t go through this alone. Call or contact us today for your free consultation.