Avoiding Disciplinary Action as a Nurse Practitioner

Attorney Alex Fisher recently had the fantastic opportunity to sit down with Erin Tolbert, the creator of MidlevelU, an online resource for midlevel providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and discuss common pitfalls for nurse practitioners that may lead to licensure discipline. The original article and video, published on MidlevelU can be found here.

Erin and Alex discuss:

The main reasons nurse practitioners are usually brought before the Board of Nursing, which include prescribing without documentation, ethical concerns, and criminal convictions.

Attorney Alex Fisher explains how investigation by the Department of Health in Tennessee is a complaint driven process, which means complaints are initiated by members of the public, such as patients, co-workers, supervisors or employers, and general members of the public.

Prescribing Without Documentation

Prescribing issues that result in discipline generally concern prescribing narcotics without documenting the rational for prescribing and documenting that the individual is the nurse practitioner’s patient.

Falsification of Documentation

Documentation issues that result in discipline generally result from falsification of documentation, such as false documentation of checking vitals, taking a test, or any other documentation in a patient’s chart that does not accurately reflect the nurse practitioner’s interventions.

Criminal Convictions

Criminal convictions that result in severe discipline are generally more serious in nature, such as violent crimes. It is less likely that someone will receive harsh discipline for a lesser misdemeanor, such a DUI conviction. Regarding criminal convictions, the requirements for self-reporting vary from state to state. Even if your state does not require self-reporting, when a nurse practitioner renews her license, she should be sure to reanswer any questions on her practitioner profile accurately to reflect the criminal conviction.