Thursday, May 28, 2009

BON License Applications

As new graduates are completing their applications for licensure, it is time to remind all applicants (and those nurses renewing as well) to be honest with the Board. I have found repeatedly that the Board's reaction is better when the nurse does not try to hide an incident.

Also, be very careful when answering the questions asked. If you are not sure if you should answer yes or no, please take the time to get competent advice. I have seen nurses end up with disciplinary actions because they answered no based on the advice of an instructor, an administrator and an inexperienced attorney. The deception to the Board was unintentional but it is still deception in the eyes of the Board and a disciplinary action is warranted--not how a new nurse wants to start their nursing career.

If your license application is still in the future and you have a criminal conviction (deferred adjudication etc.), it could be helpful to check with a criminal attorney to see if the criminal action could be expunged or sealed. Since the Board does not require a nurse to disclose an expunged or sealed incident, a nurse might be able to avoid a disciplinary action. Worth looking into.

New Continuing Education rules proposed

The Texas BON has proposed new continuing education rules. These rules make some significant changes to continuing education requirements. According to the Board:

"Under the proposed new chapter, a nurse is authorized to demonstrate continuing competency through the achievement, maintenance, or renewal of an approved national nursing certification in the nurse's area of practice, as well as through the completion of continuing education courses. Recognizing this additional method of compliance provides nurses with the option of pursuing and maintaining a certification in a specific area of practice."

"The proposed new chapter also requires a nurse to demonstrate continuing competency in the nurse's specific area of practice. A continuing competency activity should incorporate and relate to the knowledge, skills, or activities performed or required by the nurse in his or her area of practice. In the case of a nurse educator, the Board anticipates that continuing competency activities related to nursing education should meet the requirements of the proposed new chapter." It is not clear how the Board is going to apply this to a nurse who does not have a specific area of practice. The time period to comment on the rules is until June 14th.

Monday, May 4, 2009

HB 3961/SB 1880 and TPAPN

I have been telling all nurses to contact their Legislators to discuss HB 3961/SB 1880. HB 3961 passed the house and should be going before the Senate tomorrow!! You need to contact the members of the Health and Human Services Committee to let them know your concerns or even better come to the Senate Chamber and testify regarding the bills. The main issues that I have identified are:

1. Section 10(b): change the "shall" to "may" to give the Board an opportunity to consider mitigating factors that may not warrant a denial or revocation and make this applicable to current cases.

2. HB 3961 is missing Section 12 of SB 1880 which involves formal charges. If Section 12 from SB1880 is added, then to avoid current problems the following should be added:

Formal charges shall be filed at SOAH. (Sec. 301.458. Initiation of Formal Charges; Discovery)

3. Section 11: Does not allow for the times when the ingestion of a substance in inadvertent nor does it allow for false positives or for unusual situations where it is appropriate that a nurse not continue with TPAPN.

4. Section 8(g)(3): this requires the release of attorney work product and should be deleted.

I also see problems with Section 8, but I am not sure that anything can be done about it because of the push to put more restrictions in place regarding potential substance abuse.