Have you moved? Did you remember to change your address with the Board of Nursing?
I have represented nurses who had to appear for a hearing merely because they had not changed their address with the Minnesota Board of Nursing. The Board had sent them letters of inquiry, which if answered well, could have resulted in a dismissal of the investigation at that level. When the nurse fails to respond to the inquiry, the Board will send a Notice of Conference (NOC) inviting the nurse to appear before a disciplinary ‘Review Panel.’ This is, of course, very stressful. The nurse is questioned after being given a Tennessen Warning (about data privacy rights) by an Assistant Attorney General followed by rounds of questioning by a Board Staff specialist and a Board member. So, especially if you have been suspended, resigned in lieu of termination, or been terminated, don’t forget to change your address with the Nursing Board. Board inquiries may come many months to over a year after the event.
But my manager said it would be ok. . .
Most of us believe that our employer has our best interest in mind, right? Most of the time, yes. However, it is important that you, the nurse, know what you know and know what you do not know. An example is administering medications that may be considered Anesthetics by the FDA. One such drug is Ketamine, which is increasingly being used for patients with chronic pain. The nurse must be assured that he/she is able to administer the drug under the state’s Nurse Practice Act (NPA). Many states have strict requirements for the training, such as certification in ACLS. If the NPA allows the administration of the drug, then make sure that your facility policy supports your practice. For instance, if the policy says, “monitor heart rate and rhythm” then the patient must be on a heart monitor. If the employer has determined that this drug may be administered on a general medical/surgical floor then you must get the policy changed to reflect your practice. Remember, if something were to happen, you, not your manager or hospital administrator, will be called before the Board!
Documentation: Did you chart that?
If not documented, it’s not done. Remember hearing that throughout nursing school? It still holds true. Be accurate and timely. Tell the story. Do not pre-chart. The chart is the legal record of care and provides information for the entire healthcare team.