The NSBN, Protecting the Public, and You
I've been using a static website for a number of years and decided it was time for a change. It's time to share with my readers some of the lessons I've learned representing nurses over the past few years.
First and foremost, my goal is to help Nevada nurses avoid being among the nearly 2,000 Rns, Lpns, and Cnas against whom an investigation is opened each year. Footnote 1. My second goal is to help them if or when an investigation might begin, and see it through all the way to the end.
In the near future, I'm going to write various detailed articles on common legal problems that can arise for nurses who practice in Nevada. Although I am an attorney, and while there may be similarities between states and their nursing regulations, you should be aware that I do not have a license to practice law in any other state than Nevada. In addition, your case may be different in fact than the situations that I will be addressing. Every case is literally unique. Finally, the law, and the views of the NSBN, continually evolve over time. Therefore, this website informational and should be used for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice to you about your situation or your specific needs.
Interacting with the Nevada State Board of Nursing can be an intimidating, scary experience. Many nurses lose sleep and worry constantly about what can or will happen to them. It's only natural. When I represent nurses, my objective is to help them navigate through the turmoil and seek resolution of the matter in a fair way.
What do I mean by a fair resolution? That's a tough one to answer, and it varies on a case-by-case basis. You have to remember that the primary goal of the NSBN, their charge from the legislature, is to protect the public. This to them matters more than anything else. After all, it's their legislatively-mandated duty! Footnote 2. So, when compared to that goal, your job, your hard work, and your licensure, are lower on their list of priorities.
This does not mean that what the NSBN think is proper and fair is always right or proper for your situation. Often, it seems like it isn't. And to be perfectly candid, I believe it sometimes goes farther than it needs to go in a particular case than is necessary to fulfill its charge of protecting the public. The Board's purpose in "coming down hard" on a nurse for violations is, frankly, complicated and born of a number of factors, a discussion of which goes beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, I do believe that in most cases, the NSBN tries to impose what, from its perspective, is an appropriate remedy.
I'm not painting a very rosy picture of the investigation process conducted by the NSBN, am I? In the words of Morpheus from The Matrix, "I didn't say it would be easy, Neo. I just said it would be the truth." Being investigated is a painful process and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, that's the truth. On the the other hand, the results are often not the worst fears over which most concerned nurses lose sleep: loss of their license (revocation) or suspension.
So try and get some sleep tonight and realize that the Board is going to try to work with you (in its own way) to remediate the problem: teach you, train you, monitor you--but not kick you to the curb. How far it should go to fulfill its mandate...that is always the rub.
1. See NSBN Annual Report, 2014-2015, prepared by the Nevada State Board of Nursing, pp. 20-21. The actual figures are 1,319 for Rns and 624 for Cnas. To read the report, go here.
2. Regulation of the practice of nursing is needed "to protect the public from the practice of nursing by unqualified and unlicensed persons and from unprofessional conduct by persons licensed to practice nursing." See NRS 632.005.