In recent years, the nursing community has been called on to go above and beyond, serving on the front line of a global pandemic. Though those days appear to be mostly behind us, the psychological and physical strain they experienced has long tail of trauma in the nursing community, with turnover and burnout rampant. And with reports that the nursing profession may soon face a historic shortage of nurses thanks in large part to the aging nursing population, it isn't an exaggeration to say the nursing profession is in crisis.
But in crisis or not, the nurses are still held to strict professional guidelines that include reporting known misconduct. Nurses are required to follow not just strict rules regarding their medical work but also guidelines around their behavior. Licensing boards in each state and territory in the US create laws around the practice of nursing, as defined by the Nursing Practice Act. The enforcement of these guidelines maintains basic standards of nursing. But that work often falls to fellow professionals who are tasked with reporting on fellow professionals. It can be a fraught situation with personal feelings and judgment put to the test.
The Law Requiring Reporting Colleagues
In every state in the US, a board of nursing regulates the nursing profession, from enforcing laws governing nurses in the state to meeting out discipline for a violation of those laws. The boards and their policies can vary from state to state, including the punishments for violations of the regulations. The board alone has jurisdiction to discipline nurses who pose a threat to the public welfare.
Should You Report Abuse?
In general, if nurses suspect abuse by fellow nurses, they are required to report it. All states have specific requirements regarding reporting abuse. Across the country, for example, nurses are required to report injuries, abuse or neglect of children, elder abuse, or reported elder abuse by the victim must be reported within two weeks.
But from state to state, the specifics of other violations may vary. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing publishes guidelines for nurses regarding sexual conduct that point out what is considered inappropriate. In general, professionals must terminate a patient-caregiver relationship, for example, before beginning a romantic relationship—and fellow nurses are on the hook for reporting it if their coworkers are non compliant.
Losing a Nursing License
If you lose your license as a nurse, you suffer consequences like loss of income and reputation, difficulty finding other work, and potentially having trouble being reinstated, along with the emotional trauma of leaving your patients in the lurch.
The Lento Law Firm is comprised of committed and experienced advocates who will protect healthcare workers' rights.
The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team can help you with your nursing or other professional license challenges. Their years of nationwide experience set them apart. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for skilled and experienced attorney defense.