Arizona Nursing Board Medication Diversion Complaint

I receive a large number of phone calls from Arizona nurses who have been accused of medication diversion. The typical fact pattern is:

  1. Nurse is called into a meeting by hospital management based on suspicion of medication diversion. The typical reasons for the meeting are because a co-worker complained, the nurse’s Pyxis transactions are suspect, or a patient complains that they did not receive pain meds or their pain level was not adequately assessed by the attending nurse.
  2. The nurse is suspended from work “pending an investigation” after the initial meeting.
  3. The nurse is called into management’s office and confronted about the results of the investigation and asked to explain.
  4. The nurse is terminated and subject to a Board complaint regardless of the explanation provided.

I hear about these scenarios frequently and nurses call me for help in deciding how to approach this significant employment issue.

Allegations of medication diversion fall into 2 categories.

  1. The complaint is defensible because it is the result of inaccurate medical/Pyxis records or poor record keeping
  2. The nurse does have a problem with medication diversion and needs assistance dealing with a legitimate addiction

Either way, a competent nursing board attorney can help you resolve your issues. If you are an Arizona Nurse facing a board complaint or employment situation alleging medication diversion you need the assistance of legal counsel.

Call David Klink today for a free confidential legal consultation

Nurses Have a Personality Type

I deal with a lot of Arizona Nurses regarding Arizona State Board of Nursing complaints. One thing I can say about my experience is that Arizona Nurses have a personality type.

A very common theme of a nurse’s personality is a desire to be compliant and follow instructions. They have a faith in the legal process and they often believe they have not done anything wrong. This not surprising.  As professionals, nurses are required to carry out physician orders and make sure they are reporting accurate updates on patient conditions.

Unfortunately, when a nurse receives a complaint from the Arizona State Board of Nursing they are often too quick to immediately follow instructions (carryout orders) and provide information (providing update on condition) without legal guidance. Often this approach to responding to a complaint can be catastrophic to the nurse’s defense of the matter and is unnecessary. You may not be fully informed about the allegations or the evidence against you. If you respond too quickly you can make statements can be used against you if the board uncovers evidence that contradicts your written response. That is why it is very important to hire an attorney to review your matter immediately and develop a plan to respond.

You always have a right to legal counsel at every stage of the nursing board investigation. It makes sense to take a minute to stop and think about the significance of any nursing board complaint and seek legal counsel to make sure you do not cause damage your professional career and respond with the full understanding of the facts and evidence.

My License Was Revoked Without My Knoweldge. What Can I do?

During every Arizona State Board of Nursing regular meeting there are several cases on the agenda where the Board is seeking to impose disciplinary action, including revocation of a nursing license, for the nurse’s failure to respond to a Board Notice.

I can only assume that the vast majority of these cases are for nurses who have simply given up. They feel beat down by the process and have decided to stop responding to notices and exit the nursing field or accept any disciplinary action recommended by the Board. This is a mistake. You have worked hard for your career and you should not give up on it because you are overwhelmed with the legal process of facing a nursing board complaint from the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

Sometimes I will receive a phone call from an Arizona nurse who truly did not want to give up but his/her license was revoked or disciplined for failing to respond to the complaint or notice of charges.  In these situations, it is imperative that you contact an attorney experienced with the Arizona State Board of Nursing. There may be legal options to help you get your license back and respond to the complaint.

All nurses are required to update their mailing address with the Board so that the Board has a way to communicate with you. Once a complaint is opened it will not go away and you will need to communicate with the Board and respond to notices issued by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

If you do not receive notices from the Arizona State Board of Nursing because of your failure to update your mailing address then you have very little chance of reversing a Board order to impose discipline on your license.

Every Nurse Needs Personal Malpractice Insurance Coverage

Every day I consult with nurses who have received notice of a complaint from the Arizona State Board of Nursing.  They have no idea what to expect in this process. Nursing malpractice insurance provides the peace of mind they need to ensure that legal fees for competent representation before the Arizona State Board of Nursing is not something they need to worry about.

Do not assume your employer has coverage for Board issues (most do not). The policy I generally recommend to nurses is offered through Nurse Service Organization and provides up to $25,000 in coverage for legal fees associated with representation in front of the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

A personal malpractice policy is cost-effective and a good investment for all Arizona nurses. If you are in the process of accepting new employment with a health care company in Arizona you may want to ask your employer if they would be willing to pay your personal malpractice premiums during your employment. Depending on your field, the cost can be less than $100 per year.

Think about the value. If you have a Board complaint you can expect to spend thousands of dollars in legal representation. If you have a personal malpractice policy your legal fees will be taken care of. Over a 30-year nursing career you might pay about $3,000 for malpractice premiums (over 30 years). If you have one Board complaint you can expect to spend more than that in legal fees, psychological examiner fees, and other costs associated with representation to protect your livelihood.

I do not make any money recommending insurance coverage. It is simply a good idea and I make this recommendation to all my clients.