Nurses can be subject to various disciplinary complaints on different grounds. To illustrate one type of complaint that a nurse might face before the Texas Board of Nursing and the discipline that might result from a complaint, we can explore the details of the disciplinary case entitled In the Matter of Registered Nurse License Number 941003.
This case involved a Texas Board of Nursing (BON) disciplinary complaint concerning an alleged violation of Tex. Occ. Code, §301.452(b)(10). That section provides that:
A person is subject to denial of a license or disciplinary action under this subchapter for:
(10) unprofessional conduct in the practice of nursing that is likely to deceive, defraud, or injure a patient or the public;
Factual Background of the Case
Respondent, or the registered nurse in question, received an Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 2017 and became licensed to practice professional nursing in Texas in 2018. At the time of the incident, a medical facility had employed Respondent for one and a half years.
During her employment at the medical facility, Respondent obtained Tramadol for herself from a Walgreens pharmacy through fraudulent, electronically communicated prescriptions using the name and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) number assigned to the doctor who owned the medical facility. The BON found that Respondent’s conduct was likely to deceive the pharmacy and violated state law by using a fraudulent electronically communicated prescription.
Respondent admitted to fraudulently submitting the prescription for herself using the doctor’s information. Respondent stated that she had kidney stones and felt it was more important to keep the busy office functioning than to take time off for her illness. She stated that she was the only nurse in a busy office and did not want to disrupt its functioning. She described her actions as an isolated incident designed to prevent herself from needing to take sick leave.
The BON found, and the Respondent agreed, that the evidence was sufficient to find that Respondent violated the following Texas BON Rules under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §217.12:
(1) Unsafe Practice–actions or conduct including, but not limited to:
(A) Carelessly failing, repeatedly failing, or exhibiting an inability to perform vocational, registered, or advanced practice nursing in conformity with the standards of the minimum acceptable level of nursing practice set out in §217.11 of this chapter;
(B) Failing to conform to generally accepted nursing standards in applicable practice settings;
(4) Conduct that may endanger a client’s life, health, or safety.
(6) Misconduct—actions or conduct that include, but is not limited to:
(H) Providing information that was false, deceptive, or misleading in connection with the practice of nursing;
(10) Other Drug-Related—actions or conduct that include, but are not limited to:
(E) Obtaining or attempting to obtain or deliver medication(s) through misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, and subterfuge.
(11) Unlawful Practice—actions or conduct that include, but are not limited to:
(B) Violating an order of the Board, or carelessly or repetitively violating a state or federal law relating to the practice of vocational, registered or advanced practice nursing, or violating a state or federal narcotics or controlled substance law
Disposition of the Disciplinary Case
Respondent waived notice and hearing and submitted to an Agreed Order of discipline that the Executive Director of the BON approved.
Respondent received a Reprimand with Stipulations and Fine. The Stipulations that Respondent agreed to were as follows:
- Comply with the Nursing Practice Act, Texas Occupations Code, §§301.001 et seq., the Rules and Regulations Relating to Nursing Education, Licensure, and Practice, 22 Tex. Admin. Code §§211.1 et seq., and the BON Agreed Order.
- Complete the BON’s online course, “Understanding Board Orders,” within 30 days.
- Complete about ten hours of specified remedial education courses within one year from BON-approved providers and any continuing education requirements that BON requires for license renewal.
- Pay a fine of $250 within 45 days.
- Work as a nurse in Texas, providing direct patient care in a clinical healthcare setting for a minimum of 64 hours per month for two years of employment. Periods of unemployment or employment that does not require the use of a nurse’s license do not count toward the required two years.
- Notify current employers in nursing and provide them with a complete copy of the disciplinary order. Notify future employers and provide them with a complete copy of the disciplinary order before accepting an offer of employment while the order remains in effect.
- All present and future employers must submit a BON “Notification of Employment” form to the BON within five days of employment.
- A Registered Nurse must supervise Respondent on the premises with at least two years of experience in the same or similar practice setting in which Respondent is working.
- Respondent may not work at a nurse registry, temporary nurse employment agency, hospice, or home health agency.
- Respondent may not have multiple employers, be self-employed, or contract for nursing services.
- Respondent’s supervisor must submit quarterly evaluations to the BON for two years.
- While the order is in effect, Respondent may not use alcohol, nalbuphine, propofol, or controlled substances. If a prescription for any of these substances is necessary, the licensed practitioner must report it to BON, and prescriptions of two weeks or longer may require a pain management or chemical dependency evaluation.
- Respondent will be subject to random alcohol and drug screens while employed, and the order is in effect.
- Positive alcohol or drug screens can lead to further discipline.
- Criminal proceedings arising from this incident can lead to further disciplinary action, including revocation of Respondent’s nursing license.
- Completing all terms of the order will lead to the restoration of Respondent’s nursing license without any stipulations.
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You can count on the experienced nursing license defense lawyers at Bertolino LLP, to defend you when you receive notice of a complaint against you from the BON. We will investigate the circumstances that led to the complaint and devise the best defense strategy for your case. Together, we will work to clear your name and protect your license. Call us today at (512) 476-5757 or contact us online.
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