Nursing is a revered profession, and every nurse is obligated to uphold the standards and guidelines laid down by the Nurse Practice Act. However, there may arise occasions when complaints are filed against nurses. It’s vital to understand the process of how these complaints are resolved, ensuring transparency, fairness, and protection for both the nurse and the public.
1. Review Panel Assessment: When a complaint is lodged, it is first assessed by the Review Panel. This panel determines whether there is sufficient evidence to indicate a violation of the Nurse Practice Act.
Outcome: If the panel feels that the concern has been sufficiently addressed or there is a lack of concrete evidence, the complaint can be dismissed, provided at least two Board members concur. Importantly, dismissed complaints do not appear on public record, ensuring the nurse’s reputation remains untarnished.
2. Agreement for Corrective Action: Should the Review Panel deem that the nurse requires additional education, the Board, in conjunction with the nurse, forms an Agreement for Corrective Action. This agreement, available for public viewing, details the extra education the nurse is expected to undergo. Note that this is not a disciplinary action but a corrective one.
3. Disciplinary Action: In instances where the Review Panel believes that disciplinary action is warranted against the nurse’s license, an agreement on the nature of this action is sought between the Board and the nurse. This requires the endorsement of the majority of the Board.
Outcome: If an agreement cannot be reached, the case progresses to a contested case hearing presided over by an Administrative Law Judge. This judge has the authority to determine if there’s been a violation of the Nurse Practice Act. Subsequent to this, the Board decides the appropriate disciplinary action, if required. Disciplinary orders, which are public documents, clearly state the nature of the violation and its corresponding remedy. Actions might range from a reprimand or civil penalty to more severe consequences like suspension or revocation of the license, as stipulated in Minnesota Statute section 148.262.
4. Keeping Complainants Informed: Those who have filed complaints can reach out to the Board at any point during the investigation or resolution process for an update. Although specific details of the investigation might remain confidential, the Board will share whether the complaint is in the investigative or resolution phase. Upon resolution, complainants will be informed via a letter detailing the Board’s decision.
5. Duration of the Process: The time frame for complaint resolution varies based on the intricacies of each case. However, most complaints are usually settled within six months.
6. Practice During Investigation: Typically, a nurse can continue their practice while the complaint is under investigation. Exceptions arise when there’s a perceivable immediate threat to patient safety, prompting the Board to provisionally suspend the nurse’s license.
In conclusion, the complaint resolution process is meticulously structured to ensure that both nurses and the general public are protected. Every step of the process is designed to uphold the integrity and reputation of the nursing profession, while also ensuring that justice is served when necessary.
If you are a nurse that needs help with a matter before the Board of Nursing, call Fabian Hoffner at 612-206-3777 or email at email@example.com.