Saturday, June 30, 2007


Don't forget that Sicko, Michael Moore's look into healthcare in America hits the screens this weekend. So far the ratings have been good by film reviewers, but there is another take on So, it seems the answer will be to see for yourself.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Nurse's Chapel

Go have a look at the blog "Running with Scissors". There are some incredible pictures shown on the blog that were taken inside the Nurse's Chapel in Westminster Abbey.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Continuing Education Changes

The Board has posted new proposed rule changes to section 216 "Continuing Education". The Board used to audit the CEUs for randomly selected nurses and if they were found to be lacking the required number of hours, an investigation was opened and disciplinary action taken, which might eventually result in suspension of the nurse's license. The new rules will have the Board doing random audits, but if the nurse is non compliant the nurse's license will not be renewed. This makes the process of stopping the nurse from practice much quicker. The nurse can still be investigated and additional disciplinary action taken. Then, if a nurse is found non-compliant and does not get renewed the very next renewal period the same nurse will also be subject to an audit.

I really dislike this rule because it takes nurses out of practice for something as simple as not enough CEUs or not responding to the Board (another reason to be sure that your address is kept current with the Board) when audited. CEUs are not a way to maintain competency, as anyone who has done a home study or online study knows and to use CEUs like this does not appear to be a good use of regulatory power.

Texas nurses need to join nursing associations and fight rules like this!

No more Texas Board of Nurse Examiners

Okay, I know that title got you riled up or maybe excited or maybe worried, but it is true. This legislative session produced legislation that will change the name of the Texas Board of Nurse Examiners to the Texas Board of Nursing. This is one of the changes requested by the Board during the Sunset Advisory Commission's review of the agency last year. Continue to watch here for updates on the changes to nursing from the new laws.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Changes Coming

The Star-Telegram published an article about the Board of Nursing in Texas. The article details the Board's reputation for being the most aggressive Board in Texas and at the forefront of nursing regulation in the country.

Nurses in other states should watch Texas because Texas seems to be the pioneer for nursing regulatory agencies in that they are usually one of the first states to initiate various regulatory actions. For example, nurses in other states should watch for criminal background checks for ALL licensed nurses to come to their state. Texas has been doing this for a few years; all nurses that are actively licensed are requested to provide fingerprints and if a background check shows an undisclosed criminal action, the nurse is subject to investigation and possible discipline.

For a long time I have cautioned Texas nurses that the Board of Nursing may follow what the Medical Board has been doing and this article confirms that the changes are coming: The board lists the names of nurses that have been disciplined along with which sections of the law the nurse violated. The article interviewed Board Staff and reported that "in the next few months, it will beef up that portion of the site to give detailed information about specific violations."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clarification on Process at BNE

I just got back to my office after representing a individual applying for a license in Texas at the BNE. While there, some of the nurses were discussing what they thought the process would be like when they spoke to the Board. They all thought that it would be in a court-like setting and that they would testify "on the stand" or behind a podium. Wanting to alleviate any stress caused by these perceptions, I explained that the Texas Board of Nurses holds their disciplinary proceedings (Informal Conferences)or Eligibility and Disciplinary Committee meetings in a conference room within the Board. The room is also a library so there are books lining the walls. There are two tables arranged in a "T" fashion in the middle of the room. The larger table is where the Board members/staff sit and the smaller conference table is where the applicant/licensee and his/her attorney sit. No one stands to speak and there are no courtroom type procedures. The Texas Board of Nurse Examiners have gone paperless, so they will utilize laptop computers during the proceedings.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Not even one drink...

I had posted this earlier on A Nurse Attorney's Thoughts, but because I am hearing from more nurses that have gotten themselves into trouble due to bad decisions while under the influence of alcohol, I am going to post the information here:

Do not take even one drink and drive because it is too costly: not only could you kill or harm yourself and others, but if you are arrested, you start down a course that can have extreme adverse results. DWIs/DUIs are expensive. A recent article in the Austin American-Statesman listed the various costs associated with a DWI. When I added up the high ranges for these costs it came to approximately $50,000 and that did not include recurrent costs such as drug screens. Then you are faced with the criminal repercussions. In addition, if you are licensed by a regulatory board, you will most likely be investigated for possible intemperate use.

For example, a nurse accused of intemperate use must prove his or her sobriety (the DWI or positive urine screen is used by the Board as evidence of the substance abuse). It takes a lot of time and money and produces quite a bit of stress to prove one's sobriety.

It is so much easier and cheaper to just pay for a taxi or have a true designated driver. Also, these decisions must be made prior to engaging in drinking because once a person drinks, their decision-making can be impaired and they will think that they are fine to drive. I represent many health care providers that are accused of substance abuse/addiction and they will agree - Not even one drink if you are going to drive!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Documentation Again

Documentation is so important for nurses that I think it is important to share this post from Texas Nursing Documentation:

Who Cares About Documentation

Who Cares About Documentation? Nurses had better care and take action. Documentation is required as part of the nursing process. Documentation is not just some tedious task that can wait till the end of the day. A lack of documentation or inadequate documentation lends creditability to the premise that the nursing care was not provided. Inadequate documentation is a violation of the Board's rules and regulations and it can seriously harm a nurse in lawsuits as well. I hear over and over from clients that they wished they had documented "such and such" and "If only I had documented, I would not be before the Board." Nurses must change their way of thinking and organize their workdays so that they can timely and adequately document.