Crimes “Directly Related” to the Practice of Nursing Under the Guidelines
The Disciplinary Guidelines for Criminal Conduct contains a list of crimes that the Texas BON considers directly related to nursing and whether a conviction requires revocation of a nursing license. The BON can take disciplinary action against a nurse for a conviction for any felony directly related to the practice of nursing or any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude that is directly related to nursing. While many crimes may have a negative impact on a nursing license, some of the most common types of crimes that may threaten your nursing license include:
- Crimes involving fraud or theft
- Crimes involving drugs or alcohol
- Crimes involving lying, falsification, and deception
The BON considers all three of these types of crimes to relate to the profession of nursing directly. As noted in 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 213.28, nurses practice autonomously in different settings and often provide care to older adults, children, physically or mentally incapacitated persons, or others who are otherwise unable to advocate for themselves. Engaging in criminal conduct of these types places these patients, healthcare employers, and the public in general at risk of harm.
Crimes Involving Fraud or Theft
Nurses often have free access to individuals’ valuables, financial information, and medications as they care for them. They also provide round-the-clock care for individuals, leaving them to work without direct supervision. As a result, when a nurse engages in criminal behavior involving fraud or theft, the fear is that the nurse will engage in similar misconduct in the workplace setting.
Crimes involving fraud or theft can include everything from burglary to credit card abuse. Other crimes that may fall within this category include:
- Insurance fraud
- Medicaid fraud
- Money laundering
- Any type of theft
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle
Crimes Involving Drugs or Alcohol
Crimes involving drugs or alcohol may include driving while intoxicated (DWI), drug violations, intoxication assault, and intoxication manslaughter. Nurses must provide safe and effective nursing care to their patients. A substance abuse disorder may affect a nurse’s ability to function and adequately care for patients, placing patients in danger. These crimes are often, but not always, indicative of a substance abuse problem in individuals.
Crimes involving Lying, Falsification, and Deception
The Guidelines list several crimes that involve lying, falsification, and deception. These crimes include:
- False reports or statements
- Fraudulent use of possession of identifying information
- Fraudulent destruction, concealment, or removal of a writing
- Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of a financial institution
- Securing execution of documents by deception
- Tampering with a government record
One of the main functions of nurses is to accurately, promptly, and honestly document information about their patients in the nursing notes. If nurses commit crimes involving lying, falsification, or deception, they may be more liable to repeat this behavior in the nursing setting. In addition, falsified or missing records can put patients at serious risk.
Other Crimes Directly Related to Nursing
Some crimes are not listed in the Guidelines but still may serve as a basis for disciplinary action against your nursing license. Under 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 213.28(f), BON will consider a crime to be directly related to nursing if it:
- Arose out of the practice of nursing as defined under the Nursing Practice Act (NPA)
- Involved a current or former patient
- Arose out of the practice location of the nurse
- Involved a healthcare professional with whom the nurse had a professional relationship, or
- Constituted a criminal violation of the NPA or another statute regulating another profession in the healing arts that also applies to the individual
Get Help Defending Your Nursing License Today
A disciplinary complaint to the Texas Board of Nursing can have significant adverse effects on your career that often will become a permanent part of your licensing record. A disciplinary action against you may even result in the loss of your license. However, you may be able to avoid these damaging consequences with the right type of defense from the outset of your case. Contact the experienced nursing license defense attorneys at Bertolino, LLP, so that we can begin investigating your case. You can call our office at (512) 476-5757 or visit us online to get more information about the services we can offer you.