Why Do Patients File Complaints Against Nurses

A nurse’s practice and behavior are expected to be in compliance with the accepted rules and laws that govern the practice. When patients, patient family members, and employers believe a nurse has acted in a way that is unsafe or unethical, they may choose to file a complaint. 

Patient complaints can jeopardize your nursing license and lead to an array of adverse sanctions. Protect your career by having a Texas nurse license defense attorney in Texas represent your best interests. 

How Often Are Complaints Lodged Against Texas Nurses? 

The Nurses Service Organization (NSO) has been tracking healthcare professional liability for more than a decade. According to the 5th edition of the Nurse Practitioner Professional Liability Exposure Claim report, claims have risen by 10.5%. 

Patient complaints against nurses involved the following allegations:

  • Diagnosis-related complaints accounted for 37.1% of all allegations
  • 35.3% of complaints reported improper treatment or care management
  • 17.7% of complaints involved improper administration of medication
  • Failure to behave in a professional manner and patient abuse made up 2.6% of complaints against nurses

The last 7.3% of complaints pertained to various smaller allegations. Approximately 43% of licensing board complaints resulted in some adverse action against a nurse’s license. 

What Are the Most Common Complaints Against Nurses? 

The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) enforces the Texas Nursing Practice Act and the BON Rules and Regulations. The BON investigates complaints against nurses and adjudicates those complaints when necessary.

Patients can file a complaint against a nurse for many reasons. For example, a relative of a patient may describe a negative attitude or behavior, believing it to be a lack of empathy. Other complaints may point to a lack of support during nursing care. 

A complaint may involve the following: 

  • Failing to provide adequate care for a patient 
  • Exhibiting behaviors likely to cause unnecessary patient harm
  • Improper management of client records
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Conduct that may endanger a patient’s life, health, or safety
  • Failing to recognize and maintain the professional boundaries of the nurse-patient relationship
  • Improperly administering medications or treatment
  • Failing to accurately report or document a patient’s nursing notes
  • Under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications that may cause impairment 

BON investigations typically take six to twelve months to complete, depending on the circumstances of the case. Nurses and those who file the complaint are continuously notified (generally every 6 months) during the process. The time it takes to resolve a case matter can depend on several elements. It can depend on the allegations themselves, the witnesses involved and the harm caused. It can also depend on the caseload the investigator has, the time and records available to the investigator and the seriousness of the other cases on their caseload. Some cases may take priority over others.  Sometimes, it can take years for the BON to resolve a case. 

What Are the Potential Consequences for Complaints Against Nurses in Texas? 

The BON has the authority to take disciplinary action against a nurse when it finds that a violation of the Texas Nursing Practice Act or a BON Rule occurred. Sanctions may include:

  • Remedial education
  • Fines
  • A public warning or reprimand
  • License suspension
  • License Probation or Probated Suspension
  • Supervision (direct or indirect)
  • Reexamination 

The most serious consequence of a complaint against a nurse is revocation of the license. If you have been notified of a complaint, consulting a nurse license defense attorney in Texas may be the best way to mitigate the potential adverse consequences. 

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Schedule a Consultation with a Texas Nurse License Defense Lawyer Today

A nurse license defense lawyer in Texas has the unique knowledge and skills to protect your career. If you are under investigation by the Texas Board of Nursing, your livelihood and reputation are on the line. It is critical to take the complaint seriously and address the allegations head-on.

If you received a licensing complaint, Bertolino LLP can help. We represent licensed professionals across Texas. Our honest, experienced attorneys will aggressively fight on your behalf.

Call or text (512) 476-5757 or complete a Case Evaluation form