In our blog post “Nurses: Know The Importance of Self-Reporting A DUI” we touched on the importance of self-reporting a charge or conviction, such as a DUI, to the Arizona Board of Nursing. But what happens if you’re a nurse who has been convicted of a crime, such as a DUI? What sort Arizona Board of Nursing disciplinary action could you be facing?
When the Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBN) receives notice of a DUI they will conduct an investigation separate from local and state officials. From here the AZBN will decide what disciplinary action will be taken. The action they decide on will depend upon the person’s DUI or substance abuse history along with other factors. If this is an individual’s second charge, or perhaps it’s a felony charge, it will be seen as a more serious offense than if it was a first-time misdemeanor DUI.
So what are the different disciplinary actions the Arizona Board of Nursing can take?
- Administrative violation: This is a small violation, which means the National Council of State Boards of Nursing will not receive a report of it. Violations such as a DUI do not fall under this category.
- Non-disciplinary: Falls under those violations where there is low risk or harm to the public and where the Board issues a letter of concern.
- Disciplinary: includes a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000, a decree of censure, which means the person does not represent a continued risk to the public, and others. There is one action, probation, which allows a nurse to continue working. Probation not only allows an individuals to continue to work, but also requires a nurse to remain supervised. This means a nurse with substance abuse issues may have certain requirements to follow, but will still be able to work. Individual’s who face suspension must also meet certain conditions before being returning to work.
Of course, there is also the possibility of the revocation of a license. This means the individual cannot hold a license for a minimum of five years. After this time period the nurse must then provide detailed information showing they have been rehabilitated. The proof of rehabilitation must thoroughly show how the cause for the lost license no longer exists. Basically, the nurse must prove there is no longer a threat to public health or public safety before their license can be restored.
The Alternative to Discipline (ATD) Program
In Arizona there is a special program available for Registered Nurses, LPNs and APRNs. It is called the Alternative to Discipline (ATD) Program, and it is a non-disciplinary program for confidential monitoring. A nurse who has any kind of substance abuse disorder or a mental health condition can apply voluntarily. Employers, legal agencies and other community programs can also refer a nurse.
The ATD program is meant to treat and monitor nurses who are at risk of conditions which could impact the nursing practice. It provides nurses with the opportunity to get rehabilitation and support. To be eligible, the nurse may need additional evaluations. This would be determined by the Board. The agreements laid out are typically three years in length. Should the person applying for the ATD program be declined, the AZBON then initiates an investigation.
If you’re facing Arizona Board of Nursing disciplinary action, know the importance of having an attorney with experience on your side. Contact Chelle Law today.