Felony Bar for Arizona Nurses

The number of applicants in Arizona that applied for nursing licenses or certificates between 1995 and 2008 increased by 1400%. The sheer volume of nursing applicants caused the Arizona Legislature to take action and create Senate Bill 1096 (“SB1096”) that bars nursing applicants from certification and licensure if they have prior felony convictions. However, the felony bar is lifted five years after their felony sentencing has been completed successfully.

Through this bill, the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) may initiate disciplinary proceedings to revoke their application, renewal or reactivation against nurses who failed to disclose a felony conviction. SB1096 also give the Department of Public Safety the right to finger print nurses in order to obtain any state or federal criminal history on the person. The reasoning behind a five year bar from nursing is to allow the individual enough time to prove they are safe to practice, in addition to, handling restitution issues with their victim(s) resulting from their felony conviction.

In 2010 the state of Arizona made a slight change to SB1096 and Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) § 13-604(A). The change allows the Board to treat an undesignated offense that occurs/occurred after 23 July 2010 as a felony until the court actually enters an order designating the offense a misdemeanor.  See the Arizona Board of Nursing Felony Bar update.

If you have questions regarding the Felony Bar for Arizona Nurses with the Arizona Board of Nursing contact us today.

Arizona Board of Nursing DUI

An Arizona nurse who is charged with a DUI not only has to worry about the criminal consequences, but the professional repercussions with the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) as well.  Arizona law holds that any health professional who has been charged with a misdemeanor involving conduct that may affect patient safety (this includes a DUI) must notify their licensing board in writing within 10 business days after the charge is filed.  Read the Arizona Board of Nursing Substance Abuse Guidelines.

Being charged with a crime means that a police officer has issued an arrest or citation and has sent copies of their report to the prosecutor’s office for review.    Failure to report the criminal charge within 10 business days will result in an act of unprofessional conduct and the Board may impose a fine in addition to disciplinary action.  Many professionals are given bad advice from their criminal defense attorney and are told they only have to report a conviction.  This is not true.

Here are some common questions professionals have regarding reporting a DUI charge to a licensing board:

Q: If you have been charged with a DUI, what is the best way to inform your Board?

A: Contact me (an attorney) within 10 days of you being charged with a DUI and I can assist in drafting a response.

Q: What happens once I report the charge to the Board?

A: The Board will initiate an investigation and you will eventually have to go in front of the Board.

Q: What will the investigator look at?

A: Many things:

  • What your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was.
  • If you are charged with an Extreme DUI, it is likely that the Board will order an addiction evaluation.
  • How many prior DUI convictions you have had.
  • Whether you have a history of substance abuse.
  • Do you have a record of substance abuse with your past employers.

Being charged with a DUI is an offense that every nurse should take seriously.  The best advice I can give is to contact me immediately.  Losing your driver’s license is one thing, but losing your professional license is something that must be avoided at all costs.

If you have been charged with a DUI and are concerned about the repercussions it will have with the Arizona Board of Nursing contact Arizona Board of Nursing DUI with Chelle Law.

Arizona Board of Nursing LPN Investigative Questionnaire

The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) licenses, certifies, investigates and disciplines all licensed practical nurses (“LPN”s) practicing in Arizona.  The Board can initiate an investigation during the following situations:

  • During the application process
  • If the nurse self-reports a violation
  • When a complaint is filed against the nurse

Read about the Arizona Board of Nursing Complaint and Discipline process.  Any time the Board proceeds with an investigation into a possible act of unprofessional conduct by a LPN, the investigator will send the nurse a Questionnaire.  There are a number of different types of Questionnaires that the Board will request the nurse to fill out.  This post will examine the Investigative Questionnaire sent to the nurse during an investigation involving possible acts of unprofessional conduct.

The Investigative Questionnaire will ask for a detailed description of the event(s), in addition to, a detailed employment history for the last five years.  It is important to keep detailed records of all documents associated with past employment.

If patient care is at issue during the investigation the LPN will have to give detailed information as to the patient at issue including relevant outcomes, diagnoses, and facility information.

Receiving an Investigative Questionnaire can be a scary thing for any nurse, but it is important that you seek an attorney prior to responding to any request for information from the Board.  A lawyer experienced in dealing with Board investigations can help you prepare a proper and thorough response.

If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing LPN Investigative Questionnaire please contact Chelle Law.

Arizona Board of Nursing RN Investigative Questionnaire

The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) licenses, certifies, investigates and disciplines all licensed registered nurses (“RN”s) practicing in Arizona.  The Board can initiate an investigation during the following situations:

  • During the application process
  • If the nurse self-reports a violation
  • When a complaint is filed against the nurse

Raad about the Arizona Board of Nursing Complaint and Discipline process.  Any time the Board proceeds with an investigation into a possible act of unprofessional conduct by a RN, the investigator will send the nurse a Questionnaire.  There are a number of different types of Questionnaires that the Board will request the nurse to fill out.  This post will examine the Investigative Questionnaire sent to the nurse during an investigation involving a possible act of unprofessional conduct.

The Investigative Questionnaire will ask for a detailed description of the event(s), in addition to, a detailed employment history for the last five years.  It is important to keep detailed records of all documents associated with past employment.

If patient care is at issue during the investigation the RN will have to give detailed information as to the patient at issue including relevant outcomes, diagnoses, and facility information.

Receiving an Investigative Questionnaire can be a scary thing for any nurse, but it is important that you seek an attorney prior to responding to any request for information from the Board.  A lawyer experienced in dealing with Board investigations can help you prepare a proper and thorough response.

If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing RN Investigative Questionnaire please contact Attorney Robert Chelle.

Arizona Board of Nursing Unprofessional Conduct

The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) specifically designates a number of acts that are considered unprofessional conduct. If the Board determines that a licensed or certified nurse has committed an act of unprofessional conduct the Board may impose disciplinary action. The disciplinary action can include probation, suspension or revocation of a nurse’s license or certificate. The laws specifically state that the acts leading to a finding of unprofessional conduct do not have to occur in Arizona, they can occur anywhere else.  Here is the Arizona Revised Statue (A.R.S. 32-1601) with the acts included in the Arizona Board of Nursing Unprofessional Conduct.

Some of the acts of unprofessional conduct include (this is not an all-inclusive list):

  • Committing a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
  • Any conduct that is harmful to the health of a patient or the public.
  • Having a license or certificate denied, suspended, limited or revoked in another jurisdiction and not reinstated by that jurisdiction.
  • Failing to comply with a board order.
  • Failing to self-report a conviction for a felony or undesignated offense within ten days after the conviction.
  • Cheating on a licensure or certification examination.

There are some very specific reporting rules regarding self-reporting criminal charges to the Board.  Be aware that you must report most criminal charges to the Board within 10 days or you will likely be disciplined A licensed or certified nurse is held to a higher standard with regards to conduct and it is imperative that you don’t risk your license for simply failing to report an act to the Board.

If you have any questions regarding Arizona Board of Nursing Unprofessional Conduct contact Chelle Law.

Arizona Board of Nursing Questionnaire

The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) licenses, certifies, investigates and disciplines all licensed or certified nurses practicing in Arizona.  The Board can initiate an investigation during the following situations:

  • During the application process
  • If the nurse self-reports a violation
  • When a complaint is filed against the nurse

Any time the Board proceeds with an investigation into a possible act of unprofessional conduct by a nurse, the investigator will send the nurse a Questionnaire.  There are different types of Questionnaires that the Board will request the nurse to fill out.

This post will examine the Arrest/Citation/Charge Questionnaire sent to the nurse during an investigation involving possible or past criminal activity of the nurse.  If the nurse was involved in an incident that resulted in a number of different charges/convictions the nurse will have to fill out a different Questionnaire for each offense.

The Questionnaire will ask for the details of the incident, in addition to, all relevant police and court documents.  It is important to keep detailed records of all documents associated with criminal conduct.  Attempting to track down a voluminous amount of documents from different municipalities can take weeks and the nurse generally has 30 days to return the Questionnaire if the nurse doesn’t request additional time.

The Arrest/Citation/Charge Questionnaire will also ask for a list of all of your employers over the last five years (including current contact information).

Receiving a Questionnaire can be a scary thing for any nurse, but it is important that you seek an attorney prior to responding to any request for information from the Board.  A lawyer experienced in dealing with Board investigations can help you prepare a proper and thorough response.

If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing Questionnaire please contact Chelle Law.

Arizona Board of Nursing Questionnaire

Arizona Board of Nursing Continuing Education Requirements

Currently, the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) does not require continuing education for licensed practical and registered nurses.  However, attempts are being made by Arizona legislators to mandate 20 hours of continuing education per year for each licensed RN and LPN.  Over 30 states currently require some kind of continuing education for licensed nurses.  The goal of continuing education is to enhance the professional competence of the provider with the hope of improved health care.  Here are the Arizona Board of Nursing Practice Requirements.

Arizona does require that any licensed RN or LPN complete 960 hours of practice in a 5 year period to renew or obtain licensure.  The Board has stated that the following activities constitute practice:

  • Teaching nursing
  • Supervising care
  • Consulting
  • Clinical experience
  • Volunteering with a nursing organization
  • Health screenings
  • Caring for family members does not qualify as practice

New graduates must be licensed within 2 years of graduation or they must complete a refresher course once NCLEX has been passed.

If you have a question about Arizona Board of Nursing Continuing Education Requirements contact Chelle Law.

Avoid Arizona Nurse Charting Errors

Accurate documentation by nurses is an essential part of providing care.  Errors documented in medical records can be used by licensing Boards and attorneys to assess or prove negligence in the care provided to patients.  Precise and thorough documentation is a key factor in proving that proper care was given to a patient by the nurse.  Here are 5 tips to assure you are charting correctly:

  • Do not chart care that was not given
  • Avoid writing in the margins
  • Chart as soon as possible after care is given.
  • Only use abbreviations that are generally accepted within the industry
  • Simply chart the facts.  Do not include personal estimations of the care given or needed.

Every nurse is best served by keeping simple, legible and accurate charts.  This will help you avoid discipline from your licensing Board in addition to protecting yourself from possible litigation.

If you have more questions regarding how to Avoid Arizona Nurse Charting Errors contact Chelle Law.

Arizona Nursing Unlawful Acts

Arizona Nursing Unlawful ActsThere are many acts a nurse licensed or certified in Arizona can be disciplined for that is not illegal per se according to A.R.S. 32-1666.  In fact, all individuals who are licensed or certified by the state are held to a higher standard than the general public.  However, the laws that deal with nursing in Arizona specifically state a number of illegal acts that any individual may not do unless they are specifically licensed or certified to practice nursing in Arizona.  Read the code regarding Arizona Nursing Unlawful Acts.   Those acts include:

  • Acting as or offering to act as a clinical nurse specialist, registered nurse practitioner, or registered or practical nurse in Arizona.
  • Using any abbreviation, card, device, figure, letter, sign or title that indicates that the individual is a clinical nurse specialist, graduate nurse, nurse practitioner, practical nurse, professional nurse or registered nurse.
  • Using any abbreviation, card, device, letter or sign that indicates the individual is certified to practice nursing in any capacity.
  • Operating a training or educational program to prepare students for licensure or certification as a nurse in Arizona unless it has been approved by the Arizona Board of Nursing.

If you have a question about Arizona Nursing Unlawful Acts contact Chelle Law.

Arizona Board of Nursing Investigation Notice

Arizona Board of Nursing Investigation NoticeThe Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) is given wide-ranging investigative powers when determining whether to discipline licensed or certified nurses practicing in Arizona.  The Board has the power to suspend, revoke or limit a nurse’s license or certificate after it has completed an investigation.

If the Board concludes, after an investigation, that reasonable grounds exist to bring disciplinary action against a nurse, the Board will serve the nurse with written notice of the possible disciplinary action.  The written notice will contain:

  • The facts gathered by the investigator along with the specific rules or statutes that the Board believes were violated.
  • A request that the nurse rebuts or explains why the Board should not take disciplinary action.

A nurse must submit a written request for a hearing within 30 days from the service of the notice letter or the Board will consider all of the allegations admitted and the Board will take disciplinary action.

No nurse should fail to ask for a hearing to explain the facts surrounding the investigation.  Arizona law allows anyone under investigation before the Board to have an attorney present at the hearing.  The hearing will give the nurse and their attorney an opportunity to explain their side of the story and hopefully minimize any disciplinary action taken.

Know your rights!  Contact an attorney and request a hearing.  Do not let the Board pass judgment without hearing your side of the story first.

If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing Investigation Notice contact Chelle Law.