Legal Nurse Consulting News: Nurse Discipline
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Over 6,000 nurses are disciplined a year in the United States according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Disciplinary actions available to each state?s nursing board include fines, suspensions, and license revocation. According to some state boards, nurses have a greater chance of being disciplined than physicians. In a New York study, nurses who had a criminal conviction, tampered with medical records, committed documentation errors, or committed medication errors had the highest rates of discipline. More nurses were sanctioned as a result of their conduct while a smaller population was found to not have committed any professional errors. Furthermore, even though the number of nurses disciplined annually is low compared to the total number of licensed nurses, the disciplinary rates are steadily increasing. Some of the disciplinary rate increases might be attributed to the nursing shortage or the hospital administration?s reluctance to raise pay and work environment standards.Whatever the case, each theory can lead to staffing shortages and overworked nurses. Any nurse that has a complaint filed against them should make sure that their legal counsel is being assisted by an Advanced Legal Nurse Consultant. RN Market trained ALNC?s are qualified to assist attorneys in any state board of nursing inquiry. The ALNC is provided advanced training in the nursing Standards of Care, medical record and documentation protocols, and medication principals. ALNCs are experts in identifying adherences to, and deviations from, the Standards of Care. For cases that might require more investigative work or are more serious in nature, a Certified Legal Nurse Investigator might be necessary. CLNIs have acquired the advanced investigative and interviewing techniques needed to take on the most difficult state board of nursing disciplinary actions. The CLNI also has the ability to go beyond the paper chase and investigate cases involving electronic documentation.