No nursing professional wants to face allegations of wrongdoing from the Texas Board of Nursing (BON). Therefore, it's essential to be well-versed in BON requirements–to prevent some issues, and to better respond to others.
Here are seven (7) crucial facts you may not know about BON allegations:
- If you see something, you must say something.
Under Texas Law Section 301.402(b), licensed nurses are generally required to report misconduct by other nurses. If a nurse commits misconduct, it should be reported either to the Board or to the facility’s peer review committee. If nurses are aware of a nursing student impaired by chemical dependency, in a way that would jeopardize a patient, then a report should be made to the nursing educational program. Among other requirements, reports should be made in writing and signed.
- You have only ten (10) days to notify the Board if you change your name or address.
If you're moving or getting married, you may be overwhelmed by everything you need to do. But make sure that you add this item to your "to do" list: Contact the Board. Board Rule 217.7 requires licensees to give the Board notice of a name or address change, and you only have 10 days to do so. When you provide prompt updates, you also help ensure you don’t miss any important communications from the Board.
- BON doesn’t require you to tell your employer about allegations or an investigation.
BON investigations are confidential, and you are not required to tell your employer about an ongoing investigation. Still, in certain situations, it may be advantageous to do so. Your lawyer can help you determine whether you should talk to your employer.
- You can keep working during an investigation.
Allegations made against you are just that: allegations. They are not proof. While the investigation is underway, you may continue to work until the Board does issue an Order affecting your employment or your license. If it does, then you must comply with its requirements.
- You have the right to see records and documents related to your case.
You may request copies of investigator records and documents for your case. But there are limits to what you're entitled to get. For instance, you cannot access complaint information. Also, there are administrative obstacles as well. You must pay for any copies you request, and some restricted documents may be viewed only at the Board’s office.
- You may voluntarily surrender your license during a disciplinary phase.
If the Board brings disciplinary action against you, you have the option of voluntarily surrendering your license. A voluntary surrender does count as a Board discipline or sanction, but it may not be an automatic, permanent bar to future licensing. Ultimately, the Agreed Surrender Order will indicate whether there is a permanent ban to a reinstatement of your nursing license. But usually, you may apply for reinstatement after one year.
- You can take steps to prove you did nothing wrong.
The Board recommends that nurses facing allegations “provid[e] the investigator with all information requested in a prompt fashion.” But you don't have to do this alone. A lawyer can help you gather information and take additional steps to establish a defense.
Every licensing disciplinary action differs, from employer notification to gathering evidence you need. It's better to discuss the facts with an attorney sooner, rather than later.
If you are facing any investigation or license proceeding, download our free e-Book today for more information, and contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.