Thursday, August 9, 2007

Reporting Nurses to the Board

Due to the recent Legislative session, there were some significant changes to the rules at the Texas Board of Nursing and they are currently posted as proposed rule changes:

§217.11.Standards of Nursing Practice.
(K) Comply with mandatory reporting requirements of Texas Occupations Code ch. 301, Subchapter I, which include reporting a nurse :

(i) who violates this chapter or a board rule and contributed to the death or serious injury of a patient;

(ii) whose conduct causes a person to suspect that the nurse's practice is impaired by chemical dependency or drug or alcohol abuse;

(iii) whose actions constitute abuse, exploitation, fraud, or a violation of professional boundaries; or

(iv) whose actions indicate that the nurse lacks knowledge, skill, judgment, or conscientiousness to such an extent that the nurse's continued practice of nursing could reasonably be expected to pose a risk of harm to a patient or another person, regardless of whether the conduct consists of a single incident or a pattern of behavior.

I am waiting to see how this change plays out because it seems to finally get rid of all of those minimal violations that seemed to plague nurses working in a shortage situation (documentation errors, delay in administering medication etc.). Now the violation must have resulted in Death or serious injury to a patient or the nurse is suspected of substance abuse or the nurse violated boundaries or committed abuse, exploitation or fraud or the nurse shows incompetence to a level that could harm a patient.

I think it is going to be hard to punish a nurse currently in the system for documentation issues or something likewise minor, when the Board knows that the Legislature is wanting nursing discipline to actually protect the public. For more information about the problems that have been plaguing regulatory actions and nursing see More Nurses in Trouble with the Board.

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