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How to File a Complaint Regarding Nursing Practice

The BON enforces the Nursing Practice Act and BON Rules and Regulations by setting minimum standards for nursing practice and nursing education, conducting investigations of complaints against nurses and adjudicating complaints. Complaints are received about practice or behavior which could be a violation of the Nursing Practice Act (NPA), and may include, but not limited to, the following:

However, the Board does not normally address complaints about rudeness of a nurse to co-workers, violations of hospital policies, and general employer-employee issues.

How do I file a complaint against a nurse?

Complaints may be filed at any time against a nurse by completing a written complaint form, available online in the following format: For Individuals: Cmplt.pdf - Adobe Acrobat. For Employers: EmpCmplt.pdf - Adobe Acrobat.    Click here if you need to get Adobe Acrobat. In addition, you may request a complaint form be sent to you by calling the Texas Board of Nursing at (512) 305-6838 or the Health Professions Council Complaint Line at 1-800-821-3205, or you may simply write out your complaint on plain paper.

Your complaint can be faxed to (512) 305-6870 or you can mail to the following address:
Texas Board of Nursing, Enforcement, Suite 3-460, 333 Guadalupe St, Austin, Texas 78701

Does the Texas Board of Nursing accept verbal complaints telephonically?

Pursuant to 301.457, Tx Occ. Code, complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant.

What information is needed to file a complaint?

Please provide the identity of the nurse involved, including the correct spelling of the name, and the nursing license number or social security number, if known, to assist us in the event the name is common, as well as a detailed summary of each alleged violation of the NPA, including dates of each alleged incident and the medical record number of the patient involved. Supplying the medical record number is not a violation of confidentiality. If the incident involves a medication, include the name of the medication.

Be as specific as possible in describing the events, and include a list of any witnesses with first-hand observations and knowledge of the incident(s).

If I make a complaint, will my identity and/or the identity of the patient be kept confidential?

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, he/she never learns the source of the complaint from the BON, unless the complainant is required to testify. In addition, every effort is made to protect the identity of patients during the entire process of the investigation, and records have all identifying information changed to allow anonymity.

What if I suspect chemical impairment or mental illness is an issue with the nurse?

These matters may be immediately reported to the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN), in lieu of reporting to the Board, by calling 1-800-288-5528, or by downloading a TPAPN referral form and either mailing it to TPAPN, PO Box 9877, Austin, Texas 78766-0877 or faxing it to (512)467-2620.

How are complaints investigated?

The BON provides "due process" to the nurse by notifying him/her of the investigation and the allegations, unless doing so would jeopardize the Board's investigation. The nurse is afforded the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him/her and to show compliance with the NPA for retention of the license.

An investigator is assigned and obtains necessary evidence and interviews witnesses. This process is usually conducted through the mail and over the phone, but investigators may make on site visits if needed.

Once all necessary evidence has been obtained, it is reviewed to determine whether or not there has been a violation of the Nursing Practice Act.

How long does it take to investigate a complaint and will I be notified of the outcome?

An investigation typically takes five (5) 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 case 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 will be resolved as soon as possible. Unless instructed otherwise, all complainants are notified of the final outcome of each investigation.

In FY 09, the Board resolved approximately 37% of RN and LVN cases within 6 months, 27% of RN and LVN cases within 6-12 months, and 36% of RN and LVN cases in over 1 year. The average resolution time for jurisdictional complaints was 188 calendar days for RN cases and 137 calendar days for LVN cases.

How are nurses disciplined by the Board?

Cases in which the evidence indicates that a sanction against the nurse is needed in order to protect the public will result in an Order of the Board and will include both the sanction and any requirements placed on the nurse for retention of their license. Possible sanctions include remedial education, fine, warning, reprimand, suspension, probation and revocation. Board Orders are public information and are permanent designations in the licensure records of the nurse.

If I am a licensed nurse and see another nurse do something wrong, must I report it to the Board?

Yes, the Nursing Practice Act for the State of Texas, Section 301.402 (b), states that a nurse has the responsibility to submit a written, signed report to the Board when he/she has cause to suspect wrong-doing by another nurse. Failing to do so is a violation of the Act.

How do I get more information?

Additional questions can be answered by email to webmaster@bon.texas.gov or by calling the Enforcement Department at (512)305-6838.