how does your state compare to pa'sdefinition. karen
accurate and truthful license renewal
by rena m. lawrence, r.n., ph.d., c.r.n.p.
pa board of nursing newsletter winter 2004/2005, pg 26
the professional nursing law and the practical nurse law require that only persons with "good moral character" be licensed as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and dietitian-nutritionists. most of us believe that we are of good moral character and have never been guilty of a crime of "moral turpitude," nor would we ever deceive the board of nursing.
however, the commonwealth cour
t in moretti v.state board of pharmacy, 277 a.2d 516 (pa. cmwlth. 1971) has defined
"moral turpitude" as "anything done knowingly contrary to justice, honesty or good morals
." the state board of nursing has adopted and applied this definition in cases before it where the licensee is charged with having been convicted, pleading guilty, entering a plea of nolo contendere,or being found guilty of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude.
many licensees are also unaware that there are provisions in the practice acts for discipline of a license where the licensee has committed fraud or deceit in the practice of nursing or dietetics-nutrition, or in securing his or her admission to nursing practice or nursing school; or licensure as a dietitian-nutritionist. prosecuting attorneys for the department of state are increasingly utilizing this concept of fraud and deceit when filing formal charges against licensees. hence to the point, as you are aware, you are asked certain questions when you renew your license. "since your last renewal, have you been convicted, pleaded guilty, or entereda plea of nolo contendere, or received probation withoutverdict to any crime, felony or misdemeanor, including any dui/dwi or drug law violations, or are any criminal chargespending and unresolved in any state or jurisdiction?"
should you answer "no" and it is later determined you should have checked "yes," the prosecuting attorneys for the department of state may charge you with fraud and deceit in securing your continued license
to practice and recommend disciplinary action against your license, in addition to any action with regard to the actual criminal matter. many licensees will state, "that's not fair, moral turpitude is something terrible, heinous." that was the old definition; that one stated above is the one currently utilized. other licensees will state, "i was innocent, but my lawyer advised me to plead guilty or nolo contendere; that nolo contendere wasn't the same as pleading guilty."
this is incorrect; the licensing laws consider a nolo contendere plea as well as a guilty plea.
a few say, "my lawyer said the charges were dropped." unless you have something in writing that says the charges were dropped, report it on the renewal form and explain that you think the charges were dropped. then attempt to obtain the documentation from your attorney or from the court in which the criminal matter occurred.
finally, one of the most common reporting problems is dui's and dwi's. many people do not view alcohol as a chemical dependency problem and say the dui or dwi was not an arrest but a traffic violation. incorrectly, many managers and administrators reinforce this misconception and believe unless the dui/dwi happened on the job, it's irrelevant. however, the board views dui's and dwi's as a drug or alcohol related conviction and requires licensees to report these on the biennial renewal.
the best advice the board can give a licensee is to tell the truth, check the right box and attach a personal explanation and court documentation. nurses and dietitian-nutritionists are good people and many problems with the law are minor and will not effect your license. reported criminal violations are reviewed by legal staff and in many cases do not pose a barrier to continued licensure. more licensees are getting into difficulty because they check "no" when they should have checked "yes." it may sound trite, but tell the truth and you will never go wrong.
May 18, '05
by NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt][FONT=arial-boldmt]The effect of criminal convictions on nursing licensure
by martha h. brown, board counsel
PA state board nursing newsletter winter 2002 issue, pg. 7
many licensed nurses are not aware that a criminal conviction for a crime committed outside the practice of nursing may affect their nursing license. this article will discuss the various laws which permit or require the discipline of a nursing license for criminal actions and what constitutes an actionable criminal offense under those laws.
[FONT=timesnewromanps-boldmt]felonies and crimes of moral turpitude
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]the professional nursing law and the practical nurse law practice acts provide that the board may refuse or discipline
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]any license if the board finds that:[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt] the licensee has been convicted, or has pleaded guilty, or entered a plea of nolo contendere, or has been found guilty by a judge or jury, of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude, or has received probation without verdict, disposition in lieu of trial or an accelerated rehabilitative disposition in the disposition of felony charges, in the courts of this commonwealth, the united states or any other state, territory, possession or country.
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]section 14(a)(5) of the professional nursing law and section 16(a)(5) of the practical nurse law, 63 p.s. ß224(a)(5) and 63 p.s. ß666(a)(5),[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt] respectively.[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]2 [FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]under these sections of the practice acts, the board is not required to discipline the licensee for felonies or crimes of moral turpitude, but may do so at the board's discretion.[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt] the practice acts do not define moral turpitude and there is no list specifying which crimes are ones of moral turpitude. however, the[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt] commonwealth court of pennsylvania has defined moral turpitude as ... "anything done knowingly contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals." moretti v. state board of pharmacy, 277 a.2d 516, 518 (pa. cmwlth. 1971).
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]determination of whether a crime is one of moral turpitude turns on the elements of the crime as they are enumerated under the criminal statute. all crimes of which fraud is an element are looked on as involving moral turpitude.
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]court decisions have held the following crimes to be crimes of moral turpitude: theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, mail fraud, conspiracy, income tax evasion, falsifying an accident report, tampering with public records, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]the board is authorized to discipline a nurse who has been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude, even if the crime was not related o the practice of nursing or was not committed while in the practice of nursing.
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]discipline may include revocation, suspension, probation, or public reprimand of a license.
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]the practical nurse law also permits the board to discipline a license where the licensed practical nurse ìhas been dishonorably discharged or has been discharged under circumstances amounting to dishonorable discharge from the military forces of the united states or of any other country.î 63 p.s. ß666(a)(5).
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]the professional nursing law contains no such similar provision.
[FONT=timesnewromanps-boldmt]drug crimes and automatic suspension
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]if a licensee is convicted of a crime involving a controlled substance, the board has less discretion in imposing discipline. the practice acts provide for the automatic suspension of a nursing license, if the licensee has been convicted of a felony under the controlled substance, drug,
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]device and cosmetic act ("drug act"), or convicted of an offense under the laws of another jurisdiction, which, if committed in pennsylvania, would be a felony under the drug act. under section 15.1 of the professional nursing law and 17.1 of the practical nurse, the board must discipline the licensee where there is a judgment, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contendere to a felony under the drug act. 63 p.s. ß225.1 and 63 p.s. ß667.1. [FONT=timesnewromanpsmt][FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]additionally, section 23(c) of the drug act, 35 p.s. ß780-123(c), requires the board to automatically suspend the license of any practitioner, for a period not to exceed one year, if the licensee has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere or has been convicted ofa misdemeanor under the drug act. automatic suspensions under both these provisions take place without the opportunity for a hearing prior to the suspension of the nursing license. automatic suspension of a nursing license will take place regardless of whether the conviction is on appeal.
[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]the facts of each and every disciplinary case are different. with the exception of automatic suspensions, any disciplinary action affecting a nurse's license is taken after an opportunity for a full and fair hearing on the merits and after the boardís review of all the relevant facts. it is the responsibility of the nurse to practice in accordance with the nursing practice acts and the boardís regulations, to ascertain whether a practice is acceptable to the professional nursing community and to exercise professional judgment in the treatment of patients.
if you do not have a current copy of the practice acts and regulation booklets for pennsylvania nurses, you may request one from the board office at (717) 783-7142; fax your request to (717) 783-0822; or e-mail the board at: firstname.lastname@example.org.[FONT=timesnewromanpsmt]
Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Oct 6, '12