Archives for December 2010

Arizona Nursing Title Restrictions

Arizona Nursing Title RestrictionsArizona law regulates who can use various nursing titles within the state.   The use of these titles by individuals who do not hold a current and valid license can result in a finding of unprofessional conduct by the Arizona Board of Nursing and may result in disciplinary action.  Below is a general discussion about the restrictions on using certain nursing titles in Arizona.

Registered Nurses

Only an individual who holds a current and valid license to practice registered nursing in Arizona or in a state that participates in the Nursing License Compact may use the title nurse, registered nurse, professional nurse or use the abbreviation R.N. within the state.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Only an individual who holds a current and valid license to practice practical nursing in Arizona or in a state that participates in the Nursing License Compact may use the title nurse, licensed practical nurse, practical nurse or use the abbreviation L.P.N. within the state.

Nurse Practitioner

Only a person who holds a current and valid certificate to practice as a registered nurse practitioner in Arizona may use the title nurse practitioner, registered nurse practitioner or nurse midwife within the state.  A person who is certified as a registered nurse practitioner in Arizona must indicate by title or initials the specialty area of certification.

Retired Nurses

A retired nurse is prohibited from practicing nursing, but may use the title registered nurse-retired, RN-retired, licensed practical nurse-retired or LPN-retired if applicable.

It is important to know the various titles that a nurse may hold in Arizona in order to avoid possible disciplinary action.  If you have a question about Arizona Nursing Title Restrictions contact Chelle Law.

Arizona Nurse Licensure Compact Reporting Requirements

Arizona Nurse Licensure Compact Reporting RequirementsCurrently, Arizona is a participating state in the Nurse Licensure Compact (“NLC”).  The NLC in an interstate agreement between participating states that authorizes Licensed Practical Nurses (“LPN”) and Registered Nurses (“RN”) licensed and residing in a participating state to practice in other states that follow the NLC without having to obtain an additional license in that state.  Under the NLC the nurse is subject to each state’s practice laws and disciplinary proceedings while practicing in that state.

A nurse holding a license and residing in a state that follows the NLC is free to practice in other states that follow the NLC, except when their practice is limited or restricted in their home state.

The states currently participating in the NLC  are as follows:  Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware,  Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Arizona law states that any nurse who wishes to practice in Arizona pursuant to the NLC must notify the board if their nursing license has been denied, suspended or revoked in another jurisdiction within the past five years.  Additionally, any felony conviction where the nurse did not receive an absolute discharge from the sentence at least five years before the date that the person applies to practice in Arizona pursuant to the NLC must be reported as well.  The Arizona Board of Nursing will find that any nurse who fails to report these issues prior to practicing in the state has committed an act of unprofessional conduct and will be subject to discipline.

So, it is important that any nurse who wishes to practice in Arizona pursuant to the NLC, even for a single day, notify the Board of past transgressions or risk discipline.  As always, it is much better to report problems at the beginning instead of dealing with a disciplinary act at the end.

If you have a question about Arizona Nurse Licensure Compact Reporting Requirements contact Chelle  Law.

Arizona Nursing Regulatory Journal Disciplinary Action

Arizona Nursing Regulatory Journal Disciplinary ActionThe Arizona Board of Nursing publishes a report (Report) of all disciplinary action regarding certified nursing assistants (CNA), registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) in the Arizona State Board of Nursing Quarterly Regulatory Journal (Journal). The Report not only lists currently licensed or certified nurses, but any applicants that have been denied certification or licensure.

The Report lists in detail the:
1. Effective date of the disciplinary action
2. Nurse’s name
3. Certificate number
4. Discipline taken
5. Nature of the violation

The discipline taken can range from:
1. Revocation
2. Civil penalties
3. Denial of certification/licensure
4. Decree of censure
5. Voluntary surrender
6. Probation
7. Stayed revocation with probation

Besides having your name published for all to see, the detailed listing of the nature of the violation should cause any nurse concern. Patient abuse, criminal convictions, disruptive conduct, and sexual misconduct are just a few of the possible violations listed by the Board.

If a nurse would like to keep their name out of the Journal they have two options. First, obviously, is to not commit a violation. The second option is to avoid disciplinary action after the Board has initiated an investigation. The Board will initiate an investigation after a complaint is received, on its own accord during the certification and licensure process or if the Board has received information about a possible violation. Once the Board has started an investigation the nurse will receive a notice of action and will have the opportunity to respond to the Board (usually within 30 days). Most nurses wait until it is too late to retain an attorney, but I cannot stress how important it is to seek counsel prior to submitting your response to an inquiry from the Board.

A strong response can put you in the best possible position to avoid discipline and hopefully keep your name out of the Journal.  If you have a question about Arizona Nursing Regulatory Journal Disciplinary Action contact Chelle Law.

Arizona Board of Nursing Administrative Violations

Arizona Board of Nursing Administrative ViolationsArizona law holds that a licensed nurse may be sanctioned by the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) with an administrative penalty should they:

1.    Fail to timely renew a nursing license or nurse assistant certificate while continuing to practice nursing or engage in activities or duties related to nursing.

2.    Fail to notify the board in writing within thirty days after a change in address.

The law allows the Board to fine a nurse up to $1000.00 for a violation of the actions listed above, however, a fine of that amount is highly unlikely.  For failure to notify the Board of a change of address a nurse would likely receive a warning or nominal fine.

The Board has specifically defined the penalty amounts for practicing without a license assuming the nurse did not intend to deceive the Board by not renewing in a timely manner.

For RN/LPN’s the fines range from $100-500.00.  However, the Board will refer the nurse’s employer to the Arizona Department of Health Services (“DHS”) if the nurse is more than two months late in renewing their license.  Obviously, no employer likes to be referred to the DHS, so a nurse must be careful that they aren’t sanctioned by their employer as well.

For CNA’s the fines range from $25-75.00.  As with RN/LPN’s the Board will refer the nurse’s employer to the DHS if the nurse is more than two months late in renewing their license.

So, Arizona nurses must be careful and renew their licenses on time!  Failure to do so could not only open them up to administrative fines, but could also put their employer in jeopardy as well.

If you have any questions about Arizona Board of Nursing Administrative violations contact Arizona Attorney Robert Chelle.