Current addresses ensure that you can be notified promptly, as required by the law, and that you have sufficient opportunity to respond to any allegations against you. Because Board Rule 217.7 requires all licensees to notify the Board of changes of address and name within ten (10) days,...
it is your responsibility as a nurse to keep the Board informed regarding your contact information. In the event that the Board investigates allegations against you and is not able to correspond with you, your case may proceed. In such cases, formal charges may be filed and the Board may seek a default revocation of your license(s).
Since investigations are confidential, there are no provisions in the Nursing Practice Act or Board Rules requiring you to tell your employer about any pending investigation. It is a matter of personal choice as to whether or not you choose to tell your employer. You are afforded all due process rights and you can continue to work until the Board issues an Order affecting your employment and takes final action on your license(s).
Yes, as a nurse under investigation, you have the right to access the records compiled during the investigation, with the exception of any complaint information and information...
not subject to disclosure. You can make a written request to the investigator assigned to your case, and the investigator will provide you with an estimate for the costs of the records as soon as they are available. In most cases, records can be made available to you either as paper copies or imaged onto a disc; however, since some records may have restrictions governing their release, you may be offered an appointment to review the records at the Board's office.
Providing the investigator with all information requested in a prompt fashion is most helpful and you can also submit any additional information that you want the Board to consider. This assists the Board in conducting a fair and impartial investigation into the allegations against you.
Yes, the Nursing Practice Act (NPA) provides for the voluntary surrender of a license. You cannot apply for reinstatement until at least one (1) year has lapsed from the date of surrender and your reinstatement will be considered based upon the NPA and Rules in effect at that time. Please note that a voluntary surrender is considered an official Board discipline and/or sanction.
All complaint information submitted to the Texas Board of Nursing (BON or Board) is kept confidential throughout the entire process of the investigation. Even if the nurse is disciplined publicly, the source of the complaint remains confidential.
The Board is authorized to have access to protected patient information because of its health oversight activities and every effort is made to protect the identity of patients during the entire process of the investigation. If and when records must be filed publicly, all confidential information is deleted.
An investigation typically takes six (6) to twelve (12) months to complete, depending on the circumstances. The complainant and the nurse being investigated are notified periodically of the status of the investigation. Reasons for delays in completing the investigation are numerous and factors creating these delays are often not within the control of the investigator, the Board, or the nurse under investigation. Each complaint is resolved as soon as possible.
Disciplinary Board orders are public information and the NPA requires that the Board inform the public about the disciplinary actions it takes. The Board is a public entity, and as such is subject to open record laws. Cases in which formal charges have been filed also become public information at the time of the filing and continue to be public information throughout the remainder of the disciplinary process. See Section 301.158 and 301.463 (c).
Section 301.402(b) of the Nursing Practice Act requires you to report the conduct either to the Board, to the facility's peer review committee, or to the nursing educational program if the occurrence involved a student. Reports to the Board must be submitted in writing and signed. Failing to submit a required report is a violation of the Act.
Please read the Board's Instructions for Urine Drug Screen Collection for detailed information.
When a nurse accepts an assignment, the nurse must have the education, experience and knowledge to deliver safe patient care, and the emotional and physical ability to carry out the assignment safely [22 TAC §217.11(1)(T)]. There are a number of factors that may impair a nurse’s practice. Life events may impact a nurse’s emotional ability to accept an assignment and factors such as fatigue or physical injuries can impact a nurse’s physical ability to accept an assignment. Some circumstances may impact the nurse’s ability to self-assess fitness to practice including substance use disorders, mental health condition or diminished mental capacity.
Conduct subject to reporting includes a suspicion “that the nurse’s practice is impaired by chemical dependency or drug or alcohol abuse” [Tex. Occ. Code, Sec. 301.401(1)(B)]. A nurse is required to report when the nurse suspects that another nurse has engaged in conduct subject to reporting [Tex. Occ. Code, Sec. 301.402 (b)(1)].
The reporting requirements for nurses, employers and others are addressed in the Nursing Practice Act (Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 301, et. seq.). There are three pathways that a report related to an impaired nurse’s practice may potentially take.
- A report to the Board of Nursing (Board) is required if the nurse is impaired or suspected of being impaired by chemical dependency or diminished mental capacity and there is a belief that the nurse in question committed a practice violation [Tex. Occ. Code, Sec. 301.410(b)].
- A report may be made to a nursing peer review committee (please see Tex. Occ. Code, Chapter 303) instead of to the Board [Tex. Occ. Code, Sec. 301.402(e)(1)].
- A report may be made to the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN) instead of to the Board or to a nursing peer review committee if the nurse has not committed a practice violation [Tex. Occ. Code, Sec. 301.410(a)].
If a person is required to report and is unsure whether there is a practice violation, the report may be made to both the BON and to TPAPN.
For information on filing a complaint to the Board, please click on the link below:
Discipline & Complaints – How to File a Complaint: http://www.bon.texas.gov/discipline_and_complaints_policies_and_guidelines_filecomplaint.asp
For information on filing a complaint (referral) to TPAPN, please click on the link below:
Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN) was established for nurses to help nurses. It helps RNs and LVNs get through the difficulties of substance abuse and/or mental health condition(s) – and get back to work. For more information regarding TPAPN, please see their website.
For more information on these and other topics, use the search field at the top right corner of the page. Should you have further questions or are in need of clarification, please feel free to contact the Board.