Frequently asked questions About Enforcement
- If I make a complaint against a nurse, will my identity be kept confidential?
If allegations have been made against me, and an investigation is opened, do I have to tell my employer and can I continue to work?
- 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.
If allegations have been made against me, how long will the investigation take?
- 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 and takes final action on your license(s).
If I am a licensee and see another nurse or a student nurse do something wrong, must I report it to the Board?
- 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.
If I am under investigation, how can I prove to the Board that I didn't do anything wrong?
- 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.
How are the patients' identities protected during investigations?
- 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.
If I am being investigated, can I see the records and documents that the BON has gathered in my case?
- 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.
Why is it so important to change my name or address with the Board within ten (10) days?
- 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.
If I receive disciplinary action against my license, why does it have to be published in the Boards Newsletter?
- 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 be 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).
If, while in the disciplinary phase, I no longer wish to practice nursing, can I surrender my license(s)?
- 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).
What is the Board's policy on Drug Screening for Nurses under Board Order?
What is TPAPN and what do they do?
- Yes, the Nursing Practice Act 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.
- 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 illness – and get back to work. For more information regarding TPAPN, please see their website; http://www.texasnurses.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=107 .