Are nurses held to a higher standard?

  1. Something I have been wondering about for awhile:

    Here in CA, we get an annual "BRN Report Newsletter" that among other things, lists nurses who've had their licenses suspended or revoked. Some of the reasons have nothing to do with nursing, they are things like "Convicted of petty theft and of disturbing the peace" (Page 14) and "Committed dishonest act in retail transaction" (Page 15).

    Does any one know if this is the case in other professions, say, does a teacher lose his/her credential or an accountant (CPA) his/her certification for similar crimes?

    And is this the same in all states?

    Here's the link for the newsletter: http://www.rn.ca.gov/policies/pdf/brnspring2001.pdf
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   fedupnurse
    In NJ they hide facts about bad docs even when they are hilling people! But nurses as usual are put out to dry! Why does everyone but us have confidentiality??? Maybe publish the name but not why. If they are going to do this for nurses they should do it for everyone licensed by the State.
  4. by   Mattigan
    My teacher friends and relatives can lose their teaching certificates and /or jobs for the same type of things as you listed above.
  5. by   nell
    Originally posted by Mattigan
    My teacher friends and relatives can lose their teaching certificates and /or jobs for the same type of things as you listed above.
    Does every teacher in the state get a newsletter with the names, cities and offenses of all who have had their credential revoked?
  6. by   Fgr8Out
    ::biting lower lip::

    OK.... I ADMIT it!!! ::: DEEP SIGH :::


    I stole a piece of candy when I was 7 years old.... :: hanging my head, offering my license up for revocation and burning ::

    Yes, I do believe we're sometimes held to a higher standard than other Professions. I have never had the opportunity to review Newsletters published, with relation to Physicians and license revocation... so I don't know if they read the same or not. I've sometimes cringed when I've read the ones in the States Nursing Newsletters, thinking "there but for the Grace of God...." I suppose the thought process is that if someone is dishonest enough to shoplift or create a public disturbance, there may be reason to suspect unethical practices in the workplace as well.

    Do the Nursing Boards believe that, by publishing our names and offenses, they will create a situation where other Nurses look on and think to themselves "wow, I guess I'd better behave, or risk public humiliation."??? I suppose, too, that this is a way in which those looking to hire can review an employees past record. But man... Big Brother certainly is gaining an increasingly large amount of information on us all....

    Peace
  7. by   Mattigan
    Nell- No! They don't. Never gave that a thought. I guess it's only nurses who are publically humiliated.
  8. by   colleen10
    Wow!!!

    I had no idea they could do that to nurses. With teachers I'm not sure if you can loose your license per se, but I do know you can be suspended or fired from your job. Here, in Pittsburgh, they put stories like that in the local newspaper. Fire the teacher if they are "accused", not necessarily found guilty.

    Recently, in my office, we had an engineer that took a bunch of clients to a strip club, got drunk and ran his car (company car) off the road, then was arrested for DUI and spent the rest of the night in jail. Didn't even get a slap on the wrist even though considerable damage done to a company car. Although, I suspect the company was warry of making the situation worse since he was on "company business".

    Still, number of organizations he belongs to and they don't publish or reprimend for that kind of thing.
  9. by   MollyJ
    Ever heard of the National Practitioner Data Base? Doctors and NP's who are successfully sued are listed in it if the award exceeds a certain amount.

    Yes, docs and counselors and other professions print the names of counselors who are "in trouble" in their professional newsletters.

    Your employer, if they are worth their salt, checks to see if there is a problem with your license before they hire you.

    You know part of the function of a licensing board is to assure the public that the person in question has met minimum standards to assure safe practice and it is only fair that people have some sort of access to information if that person is not meeting minimum standards of safe practice.

    And yes, there is some conflict between the rights of privacy of the professional, the rights of professionals to make errors (since we're not perfect), and the right of the professional to deal with a mental health or substance abuse problem with some modicum of privacy. It is very difficult to balance all of these needs and rights.

    Nurses who are in professional assistance programs are required to tell would-be employers of their recent past history; it's part of their assistance program agreement. Now that doesn't mean the whole unit needs to know--maybe just charges or head nurses, but it is information that those folks need to know in the name of patient safety.

    Since my professional board news letter isn't generally distributed (except to other licensed persons), I don't really see a big deal with those nurses who have had hearing outcomes that DO affect their licensure being listed.
  10. by   patsue53
    The state I work in publishes a quarterly newsletter which publishes the names of those whose licenses have been revoked. This has always bothered me. In a field where confidentiality has gotten to the point of ridiculous, it does seem that we are not even given the same consideration that we're expected to give to others.

    On another note, my father died of lung cancer in a different state. During his illness my step-mother discovered that the RN at the oncology center stole 18 tabs of morphine from my father's prescription bottle. After telling the story to a hospital VP and the oncologist this nurse was confronted and confessed to the crime. She was ordered to go into rehab and submit to random drug testing for a designated period of time. She retained her position with the cancer center. No criminal charges were filed. This woman stole narcotics from a dying man! In my opinion she should have had her license revoked if not jail time. If I had it to do over again I would have reported it to the police instead of the hospital administration.

    So are nurses held to a higher standard? Guess it depends on your point of view.
  11. by   lynniepooh
    In the state of MO, the board of nursing goes into hideous detail in the newsletter. I always feel somewhat sorry for those whose wrongs are outside the scope of nursing. For example, more than once I have seen someone under censure for writing a bad check. Could have been a "brain dead" mistake from too many 12 hour shifts! It also seems that not everyone is "turned in" to the state board. You can read about a situation in the newsletter, and someone was censured for it, when the exact same thing happened in your facility last month and it is never brought up again.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    now that is plain INSANE to list a nurse (or any other professional) for personal transgressions like a bad check, that have nothing to do w/his or her work performance. And I agree, all health care professionals should be similiarly "microscoped" if such a standard must be upheld. It **is** unfair!
  13. by   James Huffman
    Since -- in most states -- the Board of Nursing is a completely separate organization from any other boards, asking why other professions aren't treated as we are is a little like comparing apples and oranges. It's really not my concern what physicians or CPAs or whoever do with their misbehaviors.

    In North Carolina, the Board of Nursing is elected by all the state's licensed nurses, so we -- unlike many states -- have the power to change the folks there if we are unhappy with their policies or standards. Given that only a small percentage of nurses vote, there's really no grounds for complaining. In other words, those who don't vote should not complain.

    I must confess a certain perverse interest in the "suspensions/revocations" section of our newsletter. The charges are often vague, and you have to read between the lines. In other words, I know what "sleeping on duty" means, but I've come to suspect that "inappropriate interaction with a patient" means that the nurse in question slept with the patient in question.

    Jim Huffman, RN

    www.NetworkForNurses.com
  14. by   hoolahan
    Originally posted by Fgr8Out
    OK.... I ADMIT it!!! ::: DEEP SIGH :::

    I stole a piece of candy when I was 7 years old.... :: hanging my head, offering my license up for revocation and burning ::

    Uh Oh, then I'm going to jail too. I stole candy when I was 5!! (But mom made me take it back and apologize!)

    Pat, don't be embarrassed! I deleted your boo-boo's, OK? To delete a post, Go to edit post, at the top of your reply, there is a gray area, above the posting area. Be sure you check off the delete box on the left of this area, then hit the delete now buttn on the right.

    Back to the subject....

    AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION
    CODE FOR NURSES*

    1. The nurse provides services with respect for human dignity and the uniqueness of the client unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.

    2. The nurse safeguards the client's right to privacy by judiciously protecting information of a confidential nature.

    3. The nurse acts to safeguard the client and the public when health care and safety are affected by the incompetent, unethical, or illegal practice of any person.

    4. The nurse assumes responsibility and accountability for individual nursing judgements and actions.

    5. The nurse maintains competence in nursing.

    6. The nurse exercises informed judgment and uses individual competence and qualifications as criteria in seeking consultation, accepting responsibilities, and delegating nursing activities to others.

    7. The nurse participates in activities that contribute to the ongoing development of the profession's body of knowledge.

    8. The nurse participates in the profession's efforts to implement and improve standards of nursing.

    9. The nurse participates in the profession's effort to establish and maintain conditions of employment conducive to high quality nursing care.

    10. The nurse participates in the profession's effort to protect the public from misinformation and misrepresentation and to maintain the integrity of nursing.

    11. The nurse collaborates with members of the health care professions and other citizens in promoting community and national efforts to meet the health care needs of the public.


    Source: American Nurses Association, Code for nurses with interpretive statements (Kansas City, Mo.: American Nurses' Association, 1997), Reprinted with permission.

    Me again... I don't see anything in there where we have to be above the law, do you?

    From Aiken's book, "Legal, Ethical, and Political Issues in Nursing" (I love this book) they say grounds for disciplining include...

    *substance abuse
    *negligence
    *incompetence
    *criminal activity
    *violation of nurse practice act
    *unprofessional conduct (a term interpreted differently in various states)

    It also states that reporting offenses to the National Practitioner Data Bank is required.

    Why they have to trickle this down to a newsletter sent out is beyond me. Shouldn't that info be availble to those who want it and employers? Why does everyone need to know it?

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