The importance of documentation in the nursing field cannot be underestimated.
The Ohio Board of Nursing is authorized to discipline a licensee for (among other things) failure to practice in accordance with acceptable and prevailing standards of safe nursing care. Failure to document the administration or otherwise account for the disposition of controlled substances that the Nurse removed from the Pyxis, or other place where controlled substances are stored, may also be the basis for the Nursing Board to discipline a nurse.
In certain cases, the Nursing Board will offer the Nurse a Consent Agreement as an alternative to an Administrative Hearing. A Consent Agreement allows the Nurse to avoid the time, worry, and expense of an Administrative Hearing. Nurses do not need to sign a Consent Agreement. It is always a good practice to read a proposed Consent Agreement very carefully. We have seen Consent Agreements that are based on allegations of failure to document the administration or otherwise account for the disposition of controlled substances. In many cases, the Consent Agreement requires (in some cases, lasting years) random drug screening, narcotic restrictions, and practice restrictions, even when there was no history of drug use or abuse by the Nurse.
If the nurse does not sign a proposed Consent Agreement, he or she always has the right to go to an Administrative Hearing. The nurse can present evidence that there is no history of drug use or abuse and that the nurse has an otherwise excellent history of employment. The Board’s attorney is going to present its evidence that the nurse failed to document the administration or otherwise account for the disposition of controlled substances that were removed.
It is imperative to completely, accurately, and timely document the administration or disposition (waste) of controlled substances or other drugs! The Nursing Board may place a nurse on probation and subject them to multiple probationary terms, even if there is no evidence that they suffer from chemical dependency and even if there is no evidence of diversion.
As always, if you have any questions about this post or the Ohio Board of Nursing, contact one of the attorneys at the Collis Law Group LLC at 614-486-3909 or go to our website at http://www.collislaw.com for more information.