As a licensed certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Ohio, you've undergone years of education, advanced training, and practice-building. Whether you work as a clinician, researcher, educator, or administrator, you've invested a great deal of time, money, and sweat equity into growing your career and your professional reputation. So, if someone lodges a professional complaint against you, the stakes can be high. A finding of responsibility in a disciplinary action from the Ohio Board of Nursing can result in a public reprimand, fines, and the suspension or revocation of your license. That's why you need the Lento Law Firm's experienced Professional License Defense Team by your side from the beginning. Call us at 888.535.3686 or contact us online to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.
Licensing for CRNAs in Ohio
The Ohio Board of Nursing is responsible for the licensure and administration of more than 300,000 licensed nurses in the state, including Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. CRNAs are licensed in Ohio as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). Before applying as an APRN in Ohio, CRNAs must first be licensed as registered nurses.
To become a registered nurse in Ohio, you must complete an application for RN licensure and a pre-registration for the NCLEX, the exam to become a licensed registered nurse. To apply to become an RN in Ohio, you must:
- Complete an associate's or bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program,
- Complete the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and FBI fingerprint cards and a criminal background investigation,
- Submit your application for “Nursing Licensure by Examination” with the state of Ohio's eLicense,
- Apply for RN licensing between four to six months before your graduation date, and
- Complete the state board exam.
To become an APRN and a CRNA in Ohio, nurses must finish a master's or doctorate in nursing anesthesia from an accredited nurse anesthesia program. There are six accredited programs in Ohio, including:
- Case Western Reserve University
- Lourdes University
- Otterbein University
- University of Akron
- University of Cincinnati
- Youngstown State University
While practicing, CRNAs must be supervised by a physician, podiatrist, or dentist when providing direct patient care. Under Ohio law, the CRNA must be in the immediate presence of the physician, podiatrist, or dentist while administering anesthesia, and they cannot exceed the supervising professional's scope of practice. CRNAs must also complete 24 hours of continuing education for their RN license and an additional 24 hours for their APRN license each year.
Professional Standards for CRNAs in Ohio
Nurses in Ohio must comply with the state's Nurse Practice Act and the rules and regulations adopted by the Ohio Board of Nursing for licensing and certification, standards of practice, and discipline.
Disciplinary actions are often grouped into categories, including:
Practice Related Offenses
Practice-related cases include offenses related to the practice of nursing, such as:
- Failure to assess a change in condition,
- Failure to implement ordered interventions,
- Failure to implement appropriate interventions,
- Failing to accurately document your assessment notes or the nursing care you provided to a patient, and
- Failing to follow the “five rights” of drug administration, including giving medication to the correct patient at the right time, in the correct dose, and using the proper route of administration and medication.
Drug Related Offenses
Drug-related offenses can include drug addiction or the use of illegal drugs, allegations of stealing patient medication, or improperly prescribing medication.
Boundary violations are actions that overstep professional boundaries, such as having a personal or business relationship with a client.
Sexual misconduct includes having a sexual relationship with a patient other than your spouse, sexual harassment, or engaging in any conduct that could be interpreted as sexual with a patient.
Abuse can involve physical assault, verbal abuse, or anything that causes unreasonable suffering, harm, or misery to a patient.
Fraud in nursing can involve anything from fraudulent billing of patients and insurance to fraudulent completing an application or license renewal.
Positive Criminal Background Checks
A criminal background check that reveals a felony or misdemeanor conviction for which you could lose your license or a conviction you failed to report to the nursing board will result in disciplinary action.
Many actions can result in discipline by the nursing board, but the OBN is most likely to suspend or revoke your license for:
- Engaging in the practice of nursing after failing to renew a nursing license,
- Conviction or no contest plea for any felony or “of any crime involving gross immorality or moral turpitude,”
- Selling or giving away or administering “drugs or therapeutic devices for other than legal and legitimate therapeutic purposes,”
- Conviction or eligibility for court intervention in lieu of a conviction for violating a local, state, or federal drug law,
- Conviction of a misdemeanor crime for “an act in the course of practice” of nursing,
- “Habitual indulgence” in controlled substances, habit-forming drugs, or alcohol “to an extent that impairs” your ability to practice,
- Drug or alcohol use that impairs your ability to practice,
- A physical or mental disability that impairs your ability to practice “according to acceptable and prevailing standards of safe nursing care,”
- Assaulting or harming a patient or withholding the means to summon assistance,
- Obtaining or attempting to obtain anything of value through “intentional misrepresentation or material deception in the course of practice,”
- Being adjudicated mentally ill or incompetent by a probate court,
- Suspension or termination by the Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration for any act violating Ohio's nursing laws,
- Violating a restriction placed on your nursing license,
- Failing to use blood and body fluid precautions,
- Failing to practice with “acceptable and prevailing standards of safe nursing care,”
- Exceeding the scope of practice for your license,
- Aiding and abetting someone in engaging in practice exceeding the scope of their license or without a license,
- Engaging with a patient in sexual contact or sexually demeaning verbal behavior,
- Assisted suicide, and
- Prescribing a drug or device to induce an abortion.
CRNAs can also be disciplined for waiving a copay or deductible as an inducement to get a patient, exceeding their specialty license scope, or failing to meet CRNA quality assurance standards.
The Disciplinary Process for CRNAs in Ohio
Complaints to the OBN may come from patients, coworkers, employers, or the general public. Often, an employer must report certain actions that could be grounds for disciplinary action. The complaint will identify the complainant, the nurse involved, and the misconduct allegations.
In some cases, a prosecutor in a misdemeanor that arises from your employment, a felony, or a “charge of gross immorality or moral turpitude” that is dismissed on technical or procedural grounds must report the charge to the OBN. This means that if you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge that could result in disciplinary action by the OBN, you could still face a disciplinary charge even if a court or prosecutor dismisses the criminal charge.
The OBN assigns complaints to a board investigator, also called a Compliance Agent. The investigator will often speak with the complainant and obtain necessary investigative documents. The investigator may also contact you or ask you to provide a written explanation of the complaint allegations. You should speak with the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm before you do so. While quickly clearing up a misunderstanding may be possible, anything you say or write about the alleged incident can be held against you in a hearing or disciplinary action.
After the investigation, the OBN's supervising member will decide whether or not to pursue disciplinary action against you. They may dismiss the complaint if there isn't sufficient evidence or the alleged behavior isn't a violation of law or rules. If it's a minor violation, the OBN may also decide not to pursue it.
If the OBN decides to proceed, they'll send you a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing or a Notice of Suspension. You'll have the chance to request an Administrative Hearing within 30 days of the notice. If you don't request a hearing within that time, you'll waive your right to a hearing, and the OBN can impose disciplinary action against you.
At the hearing, an Ohio Assistant Attorney General will present the case for the OBN. Your attorney will represent you, challenging the OBN's evidence and presenting evidence to refute the allegations and demonstrate your character and professionalism. The Hearing Examiner for the OBN will review the evidence from both sides and prepare a written report and recommendations for the OBN.
Ohio Board of Nursing Decision
After receiving the Hearing Examiner's report, the OBN will consider the matter at a regularly scheduled bi-monthly board meeting. You and your attorney can present a prepared statement at the meeting. The OBN can adopt the Hearing Examiner's recommendation or decide on another appropriate course of conduct.
In some cases, the OBN may offer you a consent agreement in lieu of a hearing. A consent agreement may impose a reprimand or other punishment. However, you should consult the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team before you sign a consent agreement. Signing an agreement can have severe and public consequences, and you will waive your right to contest the matter on appeal.
Potential Disciplinary Consequences in Ohio
Potential disciplinary actions may vary depending on the severity of the offense and the people involved, but typical consequences can include:
- Fines or civil penalties,
- A public reprimand,
- Limiting one or more areas of your practice,
- Implementing monitoring or supervision of your practice,
- Requiring additional professional education,
- Requiring that you go through counseling for drug or alcohol abuse,
- Requiring human resources training, or
- Suspending or revoking your license.
After completing the disciplinary process, the OBN will include your matter on its public list of disciplinary actions on its website, in its newsletter, and in state databases.
Appealing a CRNA License Disciplinary Action in Ohio
Under Ohio's Administrative Procedures Act, after the OBN decides on consequences for a disciplinary complaint, you can still appeal to the Court of Common Pleas:
“Any party desiring to appeal shall file a notice of appeal with the agency setting forth the order appealed from and stating that the agency's order is not supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence and is not in accordance with law. “
You must file your appeal with the agency and the Court of Common Pleas where your disciplinary action arose. However, the court will not rehash the entire case. Rather, the court will examine the record established in the hearing with the Ohio Board of Nursing. The court will only overturn the decision if it isn't supported by the evidence in the record or if the OBN made an error of law.
You Need Experienced License Defense on Your Side
If you're a CRNA in Ohio facing a disciplinary investigation, hearing, or appeal, the consequences to your professional career can be serious. Even an allegation of misconduct can follow you for years, impacting your professional and personal reputation in the community. While you may think that if you just explain what happened, the nursing board will understand and drop the matter, that may not be the case. Often, you'll find that what you say during an investigation can later be used against you. That's why you need the Lento Law Firm's experienced Professional License Defense Team to guide you through the investigation and hearing process. With our Team by your side, you can present the best possible case, and we can negotiate with the investigator and help present your best case to the Hearing Examiner. The Professional License Defense Team has been helping licensed professionals like you nationwide for years. Find out what we can do for you. Call 888.535.3686 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.