If you are an Arizona nurse employed by a staffing agency and placed in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, medical practices, or other locations across Arizona, you have an exciting and rewarding profession. But as an agency nurse, you also face special risks of misconduct allegations affecting your placement, employment, and license. We represent agency nurses defending misconduct allegations in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Scottsdale, Peoria, Tempe, Surprise, and all other Arizona locations, whether you work for Gigworx Healthcare Staffing, Concentric Healthcare Staffing, Desert Medical Careers, Westways Staffing Services, Maxim Healthcare Services, Favorite Healthcare Staffing, Accountable Healthcare Staffing, or any other Arizona nurse staffing agency. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for your agency nurse defense. Call 888.535.3686 or complete this contact form now.
Advantages to Arizona Staffing Agency Nurse Employment
Let's face it: working as a nurse through a staffing agency can provide some advantages but also other disadvantages. The advantages may include consistent employment with reasonable benefits through the staffing agency with which you have gained loyalty and confidence. You may not want to work directly for a specific hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facility, preferring the flexibility and security that staffing agency placements can provide. A healthcare facility's nursing needs may come and go, while your staffing agency can provide you with stable, longer-term employment by moving your placement from facility to facility. You may also be using your staffing agency placements to test the waters for the nursing field and employer for whom you may want to work permanently.
Challenges to Arizona Staffing Agency Nursing Assignments
But as many advantages as you may find in working as an agency nurse for your staffing agency employer, you may also have discovered challenges and disadvantages. Disciplinary charges for nursing misconduct can be one of those challenges. The healthcare facility at which you work may not give you the respect you are due. They may not value your work in the way that they value the nursing or other services of their direct employees, in whom the employer may have invested years of training. The healthcare facility at which you work may have a procedure for its direct employees to invoke to challenge misconduct allegations and save their employment. We may be able to help you invoke those procedures for your protection. But the healthcare facility in which you work for your staffing agency employer may instead feel that in your case, as an agency nurse, it's easier and better to just release you back to your staffing agency employer than to investigate misconduct allegations and provide you with reasonable protective procedures.
Challenges to Arizona Staffing Agency Nurse Employment
If the healthcare facility in which you work for your staffing agency employer notifies your staffing agency that it is terminating your assignment due to misconduct allegations, warranted or not, that termination could adversely affect your relationship with your staffing agency employer. Your staffing agency may have a protective procedure you can invoke to save your staffing agency employment through placement in a facility of another one of its clients. We can help you invoke that procedure, advocating with your staffing agency that it retains your employment. However, your staffing agency may be reluctant to assign you to another healthcare facility client, whether or not you actually committed any misconduct. Your agency may instead decide that you are unemployable and that it should likewise terminate your employment without affording you any chance to defend yourself rather than risk offending another one of its healthcare facility clients with substandard nursing services. You may then find it hard or impossible to gain other staffing agency employment. Let us help you advocate with your agency for retaining your employment.
Arizona State Board of Nursing Disciplinary Charges
As an agency nurse, you may also face the risk of Arizona State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges. Losing your placement at a healthcare facility, and then losing your staffing agency employment, are only the first risks you face as an agency nurse accused of misconduct. The State Board of Nursing may also come after your nursing license with formal disciplinary charges. If you lose your Arizona nursing license, you will also lose your staffing agency employment and ability to work as an agency nurse providing nursing services in any healthcare facility in the state. Everything you studied and worked for as a nurse is at risk, including your ability to travel across the beautiful state of Arizona to provide valuable nursing services to needful and appreciative patients and residents. Our attorneys have the skill and experience to help you advocate not only with your healthcare facility to preserve your assignment and with your staffing agency to preserve your employment, but also with the Arizona State Board of Nursing's disciplinary officials. Let us help you save your nursing license, employment, and career against misconduct allegations.
Arizona Agency Nurse Disciplinary Authority
The Arizona Nurse Practice Act establishes and empowers the Arizona State Board of Nursing to license, regulate, and discipline nurses practicing in the state, including not only registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurse practitioners (RPNs), certified nurse midwives, but also agency nurses. As an agency nurse, you must meet the same educational and performance requirements as other licensed nurses, including complying with the State Board of Nursing's standards. Anyone may complain that you violated a State Board of Nursing standard, subjecting you to disciplinary investigation and charges. Patients, residents, their family members, supervisors, colleagues, subordinates, employers, and even lay members of the public may allege your nursing misconduct, requiring you to defend those allegations or suffer license discipline and loss of staffing agency employment. As an agency nurse, you face more than the usual risk of discipline. Let us help, the moment you learn of misconduct allegations.
Arizona Agency Nurse Disciplinary Sanctions
Arizona's Nurse Practice Act authorizes the State Board of Nursing to impose disciplinary sanctions when finding that a licensed nurse committed an act of misconduct. The disciplinary sanctions the State Board has the authority to impose expressly include to “limit, suspend, or revoke the privilege of that nurse to practice in this state.” Your license's suspension or revocation means you will be unable to practice nursing in the state for the duration of the suspension or revocation. The State Board's authority to limit your license means that the Board may prohibit you from practicing in a specific kind of facility such as a hospital, keep you from providing specific nursing services such as administering medications, require you to practice under direct nursing supervision, or even require you to get additional education or training, or submit to mental or physical examination and treatment. Placing you on probation, fining you, or reprimanding you may be other options. Discipline is also public and searchable online, affecting your reputation. Let us help you defend and defeat disciplinary charges.
Special Agency Nurse Impacts from Disciplinary Sanctions
You may reasonably believe that you have built up sufficient loyalty, trust, and value with your staffing agency that your staffing agency will stick with you through disciplinary proceedings resulting in sanctions, especially if the sanctions are only a reprimand or modest condition or limitation with which you and the staffing agency can readily comply. But don't be surprised if that's not the case. Don't be surprised if your staffing agency cuts you loose like the healthcare facility did. Your staffing agency may not want to risk its good client relationships by placing you in another facility where you might commit similar misconduct, or where the facility might learn of your discipline and protest your placement. Better that you retain us to help fight and defeat the disciplinary charges than to suffer any sanction, even a modest sanction.
Grounds for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Arizona's Nurse Practice Act simply states that the State Board of Nursing may discipline a nurse for an act of unprofessional conduct without defining that phrase. Instead, the Nurse Practice Act authorizes the State Board of Nursing to enact regulations defining what constitutes unprofessional conduct for discipline purposes. The State Board of Nursing defines unprofessional conduct in Arizona Administrative Code Section 4-19-403. Consider some of the grounds the State Board may invoke for disciplinary charges against you, along with how our attorneys may be able to defend those charges.
Nursing Malpractice as a Ground for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Nursing malpractice, defined as a “pattern of failure to maintain minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing nursing practice,” is the first ground for agency nurse discipline under Arizona Nurse Practice Act regulations. Medical malpractice can cause serious patient harm. So can nursing malpractice, although harm is not a required element under the regulation. Nursing malpractice may involve failure to follow physician orders, administering wrong medications or medication doses, failing to take vitals or record vitals properly, and failing to promptly alert physicians when patient conditions deteriorate, indicating the need for emergency care. Agency nurses may especially face malpractice allegations out of misunderstandings over healthcare facility customs, assignments, and responsibilities. We may be able to defend nursing malpractice charges showing that you met the appropriate nursing standards, any deviations were by others rather than by you, or that you reasonably followed physician or supervisor directions.
Patient Injury as a Ground for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Patient injury, defined as “[i]ntentionally or negligently causing physical or emotional injury,” is the second ground for discipline under Arizona Nurse Practice Act regulations. Patient abuse or neglect may include striking, berating, or threatening a patient, withholding family contact or threatening to do so, refusing needed medical or comfort care, or failing to recognize and attend to basic care, leaving the patient lacking adequate nutrition or hydration, or in soiled clothing or bedding, or suffering bed sores or similar infectious conditions. Agency nurses may especially face abuse or neglect allegations over the scope of assignments and responsibility, and blame-shifting away from direct employees. While patient abuse or neglect allegations can be hard to defend, we may be able to show that the patient was mistaken as to your identity, deluded as to the account, or retaliating unfairly, that the allegations are untrue, or that you were following the reasonable directions of physicians or supervisors, or lacked adequate resources that the healthcare facility knowingly failed or refused to provide.
Boundary Issues as Grounds for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Failing to maintain appropriate patient boundaries and engaging in sexual relations with a patient are other grounds for discipline under Arizona Nurse Practice Act regulations. Boundary issues may involve accepting or providing gifts and gratuities, soliciting or inducing bequests and devises, kissing, sexual touching, or consensual sex, and, of course, sexual assault, indecent exposure, and other sex crimes and wrongs. Agency nurses may especially face boundary allegations when misdirected away from direct employees in a cover-up. Our attorneys may be able to defend boundary allegations by showing you maintained appropriate restrictions, others were instead responsible for the issues, or the patient or complainant misidentified you or made retaliatory allegations.
False Records as a Ground for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Failing to maintain an adequate record of your nursing services, making false records, or altering accurate records to create false reports, are other grounds for agency nurse discipline under Arizona Nurse Practice Act regulations. Allegations may involve misreported or exaggerated hours, records of nursing services not actually performed, or false entry of vital signs or other patient conditions to conceal neglect or malpractice. Agency nurses may especially face false records allegations when unfamiliar with the healthcare facility's reporting requirements or when blamed for the failures of favored direct employees. We may be able to defend the charges by showing that you kept accurate records, that others were responsible for inaccuracies or alterations, or that you acted under the reasonable direction of physicians or supervisors.
Practice Beyond the Scope as a Ground for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Practice beyond the scope of nursing is another ground for agency nurse discipline under Arizona Nurse Practice Act regulations. Practicing beyond the scope may involve prescribing medications, administering medications not prescribed or dosages in excess of prescription, performing assessments and making diagnoses reserved for physicians, performing surgeries or other procedures reserved for physicians, prescribing and administering tests reserved for physicians, or changing physician orders. Agency nurses may especially face these types of charges when unfamiliar with the healthcare facility's personnel, roles, and expectations, and acting on the advice of others. We may be able to defend the charges by showing that you did not practice as alleged, others did so but are scapegoating or misidentifying you, or that you did so reasonably, acting on the orders of physicians or nursing supervisors.
Substance Abuse as a Ground for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Providing nursing services while impaired by drugs or alcohol, stealing prescription drugs, suffering criminal conviction for drug possession, or committing similar wrongs relating to intoxicating or impairing substances are other grounds for agency nurse discipline under Arizona Nurse Practice Act regulations. Agency nurses may especially face these charges when scapegoated for theft committed by others or when others mistakenly identify your innocent condition as impairment due to unfamiliarity with you. We may be able to defend substance abuse charges by showing that you were not impaired, you have no addiction, you did not commit any theft, others did so but are blaming you, or that your impaired condition was temporary, unexpected, innocent, and corrected without any risk or harm to patients or others.
Credentials Fraud as a Ground for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Credentials fraud, defined to include cheating on licensing exams, misrepresenting qualifications on license applications, concealing license discipline in another state or disqualifying criminal convictions on license renewal, and similar wrongs, is another ground for agency nurse discipline under Arizona Nurse Practice Act regulations. Agency nurses may face a special risk of these charges when confused about how to represent their agency staffing as work experience on license applications and renewals. We may be able to defend these charges by showing that your applications and other information were accurate, that any inaccuracies were immaterial, or that you were reasonably unaware of any inaccuracies and did not intend them to induce a license you did not deserve.
Procedures for Arizona Agency Nurse Discipline
Arizona's Nurse Practice Act requires the State Board of Nursing to afford a nurse charged with misconduct “an opportunity to request an administrative hearing” before imposing disciplinary sanctions. The Nurse Practice Act refers to the state's Administrative Procedure Act for the details of contested hearings. Those details satisfy the state's obligation to provide you with due process before denying you a nursing license or otherwise affecting your property and liberty interests in your nursing practice. The state's procedures more than guarantee you a formal hearing on charges. They also guarantee that you may retain our attorneys to attend the hearing to cross-examine the Board's witnesses against you and to present your own testimony, witnesses, and documentary evidence in defense. Other protective procedures include:
● written notice detailing the charges against you;
● disclosure of the Board's evidence against you in advance of the hearing;
● discovery of other evidence held by witnesses or other third parties, including a write to subpoena that evidence for the hearing;
● that your hearing be before an independent administrative law judge (ALJ) who must write a decision with sufficient detail for you to review and challenge it;
● the right to an administrative review and appeal to the State Board of Nursing of the ALJ decision; and
● limited court review of the administrative decision, allowing you to show that the decision was erroneous, unsupported by substantial evidence, due to procedural irregularities denying you due process, or due to bias or conflict of interest.
Arizona State Board of Nursing Alternative Discipline Program
The Arizona State Board of Nursing, like other nursing boards, encourages nurses struggling with addiction issues, mental health issues, or medical disorders to participate in its Alternative to Discipline (ATD) Program. The program offers those struggling nurses assessment, counseling, treatment, and other services in lieu of discipline, depending on the nurse's ability to qualify for the program. Certain wrongs, such as abuse or neglect, the State Board will not generally excuse in favor of diversion to its ATD Program, even if substance or health issues contributed to those wrongs. Even if you qualify for diversion, though, do not accept diversion without first consulting our skilled and experienced attorneys. Diversion may require you to limit or relinquish your nursing license, costing you the nursing employment you are trying to preserve. The program may alternatively impose such strict and arduous requirements on you that you may not be able to meet them, again costing you your license. Beware ATD Program offers. Get our help evaluating and negotiating them.
Defending Arizona Agency Nurse Misconduct Charges
The bottom line for the above information is that you should not wait to address your misconduct situation. The moment you hear of misconduct allegations, retain us to help. We may be able to head off disciplinary complaints and charges by communicating, advocating, and negotiating with the complaining witnesses, supplying others with your exonerating and mitigating evidence, and arranging win-win resolutions that ensure patient health and safety while preserving your nursing license and agency employment. We can also help invoke the state's protective procedures and respond to formal charges, while also helping you deal with any healthcare facility or staffing agency communications and procedures, all for your best possible outcome.
Premier Agency Nurse Defense Services in Arizona
Your nursing employment and career are at stake when facing Arizona State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges. If you are an agency nurse facing misconduct allegations in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Scottsdale, Peoria, Tempe, Surprise, or any other Arizona location, retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for your best defense. Call 888.535.3686 or complete this contact form now.