Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Texas Senate Bill 1415 - Looks good!

I just received this Call to Action that was issued by the Texas Nurses Association and thought they did such a good job describing the bill that I wanted to share it:

"SB 1415 by Senator Hegar was heard in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee yesterday, April 14, 2009 and left pending. Your Senator is a member of the committee and needs to hear from you that he or she should vote for favorably reporting the bill from committee. The Health and Human Services Committee will meet tomorrow, Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9:00 am, and we would like the committee to vote on SB 1415 at that meeting. A committee substitute was laid out (CSSB 1415)

The Committee Substitute for SB 1415 gives the Board of Nursing (BON) additional options when addressing minor violations:
1. It gives the BON a new option of taking “corrective action” against a nurse the board finds has committed a minor violation of the Nursing Practice Act or BON rule. A “corrective action” would be a non-disciplinary, administrative action.
2. It directs the BON to pilot test a new concept of “deferred disciplinary action” as an option for addressing minor violations. A “deferred disciplinary action” would be a disciplinary action in which final action would be delayed pending the nurse’s successfully fulfilling certain conditions, e.g., remedial education. If successfully completed the case would be closed without final disciplinary action being taken against the nurse.
Under current law, the BON has only two options for addressing minor violations – dismiss the case or impose disciplinary action that remains on the nurse’s record permanently. CSSB 1415 gives the BON a third option.

CSSB 1415 is good for patient care because it will allow the Board of Nursing (BON) to spend less time on nurses who are reported for a minor violation of the Nursing Practice Act or BON rules and more time on reports that raise a question about the nurse’s ability to practice nursing safely. It is obviously good for nurses because it permits the BON to address reports of minor violations in a more expeditious, non-disciplinary manner that does not stay on the nurse’s record permanently."

Are you contacting your Legislators yet about all the important bills pending involving nursing?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WARNING - Legislation to Watch For

If you have not been tracking legislation that could affect your nursing practice, you need to do so NOW. The Board of Nursing has a great handout listing the various proposed bills. The bills that I have been watching closely are:

**HB 998, in support [this bill makes the current contested case procedure fair and is long overdue]

**SB 1880, against [see my explanation below]

Please take the time to educate yourself on the bills and contact your Senators and Representatives to tell them what you think about the bills. Too often the actual people that are going to be affected by the bills do not voice their opinion regarding the legislation.

I am very worried about various sections in SB 1880 and that the bill is trying to fix a few isolated problems with a mighty big hammer and that the resulting effect on nurses will be very sad. This bill came in the middle of my dear friend's illness and death, so I was not able to voice my opinion but I plan on doing so now. What bothers me is that when I looked at the witness list, I did not see any organizations or individuals that had experience with the day-to-day application of the incidents this bill proposes to affect. As I said, the bill on its face seems reasonable until you know about the actual application and the unfair, adverse effects the various sections will have on hard-working good nurses. I think it is crucial that our Legislators know about the effect various sections of this bill will have on nurses and ultimately the public because this bill will cause nurses to leave nursing, thereby increasing the nursing shortage.

Please contact your Legislators now or you will have to suffer the consequences of no action. I also want to point out that, unlike organizations with paid lobbyists, no one pays me to watch these bills or to take time to contact my Legislators or to sit at the Capitol for hours to testify; I do these things because I want to try to help nurses get the best possible laws in place that protect them and the public. And some of the proposed sections that I am fighting against or fighting for would actually take work away from attorneys, so there is no compensation there either. I am taking these stands because I believe that it is the right action to take.