Why board of nursing disciplinary actions do not always yield the expected results

Academic Article


  • One of the ways boards of nursing serve to protect the public health, safety, and welfare is by removing from practice those nurses who fail to meet recognized standards of care or otherwise pose a public threat. Self-reporting and discovery through criminal background checks and reports from the court system or other regulatory bodies represent only small numbers of those disciplined. Most complaints investigated by a board are reported by nursing administrators, either chief nursing officers or nurse managers. Frequently, the reporting nurses provide the board with information from their own investigation that identifies the problem and the cause and includes supporting evidence. Based on their own independent investigation, the reporting nurses often assume that the outcome of board action is a foregone conclusion. Without understanding all of the ramifications of disciplinary processes and the requirements to protect the rights of the nurse that are guaranteed under the US Constitution, the final outcome decision can be totally different than anticipated and thus disappointing to the reporting nurse administrator. They could perceive the decision as wrong, nonsupportive, and discounting the efforts made by the reporting nurse. This unhappiness with the outcome causes vulnerability in the major reporting source to a board, namely, the relationship between the board and the nurse administrator. An initial step in mitigating this vulnerability is a better understanding by nursing administrators of the legal procedures that guide disciplinary processes and boards providing timely feedback to reporting nurses on the disposition of cases. © 2008 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Raper JL; Hudspeth R
  • Start Page

  • 338
  • End Page

  • 345
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 4