Alex Fisher was recently asked to speak as a guest lecturer to a class of first year nursing students at Southwest Community College in Memphis, Tennessee, to discuss how nurses are regulated by the Board of Nursing. Although Alex discusses regulations and regulatory boards in the context of nursing, the same regulations apply to other health care providers, including physicians, physician assistants, and pharmacists. Alex discusses the following:
The Purpose of State Nursing Boards
Nurse Boards award licenses to L.P.N.s, R.N.s, and N.P.s, and set forth the educational curriculums and standards for nursing programs in the state. In addition, the Board interprets the statutes and rules related to nursing to determine the appropriate standards of practice, and the Board enforces these statutes and rules when they are deemed to be violated.
The Legal Discipline Process Before a Nursing Board
The Board of Nursing follows a legal process in all cases. Nurses and other healthcare providers have the opportunity to respond to a complaint made against his or her license, retain counsel and conduct their own discovery of the facts. Finally, nurses and healthcare providers have the opportunity to proceed to a contested care hearing before his or her regulatory board, if he or she so chooses.
Ways to Mitigate Potential Licensure Concerns in the Future
The best ways to mitigate potential licensure concerns are discussed herein, and explained in greater detail in the previously published three-part series, ’10 Ways to Avoid Losing your Medical License.’ Part I, Part II, and Part III can be found here.
In conclusion, the Board of Nursing follows a legal process in all cases. Regulatory boards expect healthcare providers to comply with standards of care, and the Boards will take actions to assure public safety. In order to avoid complaints against one’s license, be familiar with your state rules and regulations, and comply with best practices to avoid licensure discipline.