The Texas Board of Nursing has enacted a Nurse Reporting System designed to further the Legislature’s initiatives on patient safety conducted under Texas Occ. Code Sec 301.1606. To do this, the Board has instituted its own set of rules that define the circumstances under which nurses are considered to have a duty to report various forms of malfeasance or error that are undermining health care systems.
In Sec.301.4025, the Board allowed for a nurse to submit a report—so long as it was written and signed—to whichever licensing board or accrediting body was appropriate given the particular violation. These reports could concern the activity of any agency, health care facility, or health care practitioner that the reporting nurse believes (reasonably) has put a patient at substantial risk of harm via exposure to conditions not meeting the following particular criteria:
- For a health care practitioner, this criterion is failing to meet the “minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing professional practice”.
- For an agency or health care facility, the criterion is failing to meet the standards laid out by statute, regulation, or standards of accreditation. This includes the nurse’s employer or “another entity at which the nurse is authorized to practice,” a set that includes any other employee of the facility or agency, or an agent of those organizations.
Importantly, the legislature included whistleblower/non-retaliation measures in this provision, at Sec. 301.4025(c), which declares that a nurse who chooses to make a good faith report under the conditions above may not be fired by their employer for doing so, nor be in any other way discriminated against or disciplined for doing so. Nor may the agency, facility, or provider either discipline, discriminate against, or fire someone who advised a nurse to make a report. Anyone who does retaliate against such a person is subject to Sec. 301.413, which lays out the protections (including the right to countersuit) for retaliation.
When Your Nursing License is at Risk
If you are under investigation by the Texas BON in response to a complaint, or there is an issue with obtaining or renewing your license, it is critical that you consult with a Nurse License Defense Attorney immediately. Make no mistake – your license, reputation, and career are on the line. Take the complaint seriously from the start. Address nurse licensure issues head-on. Hire an advocate to protect your rights, your license, and your career.
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
If you have received a licensing complaint, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. Our honest, experienced attorneys will fight aggressively on behalf of your license and reputation.
Contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 to schedule a case evaluation.