For violations of the Nurse Practice Act in Ohio, the Nursing Board can impose a range of sanctions against a nurse which can include (but are not limited to) any of the following sanctions: revocation, suspension, reprimand, temporary or permanent practice restrictions.
Prior to the Board imposing a sanction against a nurse’s license, the Board is required to provide the nurse with a written Notice of the alleged violation and an opportunity to request a hearing. If the nurse properly and timely requests a hearing, the nurse can attempt to negotiate a Consent Agreement with the Board (similar to a plea bargain in a criminal case) or they are entitled to a hearing where the Board would be required to prove the alleged violation of the Nurse Practice Act.
The sanction that the Board imposes in each case is strictly dependent on the individual facts and circumstances that gave rise to the alleged violation. However, in most cases, the Board attempts to impose similar sanctions on similar cases.
Many nurses are surprised that in addition to a suspension of a nursing license, in many instances the Board will impose temporary or even permanent practice restrictions on the nurse’s license. The restrictions generally limit the nurse’s ability to pass narcotics or to work in certain settings such as home care or home hospice, through an agency, as an independent provider, as a volunteer or to contract individually with a patient. The Board also typically restricts the nurse’s ability to work as a nurse manager, DON, ADON or nursing supervisor.
If the Board places temporary practice restrictions on a nurse’s license, typically the restrictions will be lifted when the period of suspension and probation ends. However, in certain serious cases, the Board will impose permanent practice restrictions that will permanently bar the nurse from working in certain settings. Occasionally, the Board will include a statement that says that the practice restrictions are permanent “unless otherwise approved by the Board.” This specific language allows the Board to lift a permanent restriction in certain circumstances and for certain specific positions.
If a nurse has a permanent practice restriction on their license without the “unless otherwise approved” language, the permanent practice restrictions can NEVER be lifted. This is generally reserved for the most serious violations of the Nurse Practice Act, generally resulting from cases of significant impairment (drug or alcohol abuse) by the nurse.
Nurses are often disappointed that they may complete a period of suspension or probation but still have permanent limitations on their license. While the Board is one of only a few professional licensing agencies that will impose permanent restrictions on a professional license, it is a routine practice of the Board and is even imposed against a nurse who may have never been disciplined by the Board in the past.
As always, if you have any questions about this post or the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Collis, Smiles and Collis, LLC or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org