Investigating professional misconduct among registered nurses

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2023 | Professional License Issues |

When nurses are being investigated for misconduct, they may feel anxious or worried about what will happen. However, by knowing the investigation process, they can ease their worries and take steps to protect their rights.

What happens during an investigation?

The Pennsylvania Board of Nursing (PA BON) handles investigating complaints of professional misconduct among nurses in Pennsylvania. Once the board receives a complaint, the investigation process begins and takes the following steps:

  1. Initial review: The board reviews the complaint and decides if they have the authority to investigate. If so, they assign someone to investigate.
  2. Investigation: The investigator gathers evidence and talks to witnesses and the nurse under investigation. They might also ask for relevant records or documents.
  3. Board proceedings: The board reviews the evidence and decides if the nurse broke any rules. If so, they might offer a settlement or have a formal hearing.
  4. Board actions: The board decides if the nurse is guilty of misconduct and gives the proper sanctions.

Further, the board must report its investigation process to relevant agencies such as the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). The board also ensures that the nurse follows through with the sanctions and takes further action if necessary.

What are the common forms of disciplinary action?

After obtaining their license, nurses must uphold high professionalism in their practice. However, if a nurse is found engaging in professional misconduct, they may receive disciplinary action, such as:

  • Warning or probation
  • Fines or penalties
  • Continuing education or training
  • Suspension or revocation of license

Nurses have legal responsibilities and obligations that they must fulfill to avoid facing severe consequences. If they fail to do so, it could lead to unfortunate outcomes that may even end their careers. Therefore, nurses must understand their legal rights and duties and act accordingly during an investigation.