The Lento Law Firm Defends Rhode Island Licensed Nursing Assistants
Rhode Island has abundant professional opportunities for its licensed nursing assistants, known in other states as certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Rhode Island's beautiful Atlantic Coast setting enhances the value of nursing assistant practice in Rhode Island's attractive cities like Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Woonsocket, and Cumberland. Hospitals and medical centers like Miriam Hospital and Butler Hospital in Providence, Eleanor Slater Hospital in Cranston, Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital in East Providence, and Kent County Memorial Hospital in Warwick provide plenty of opportunities for nursing assistant medical facility practice. Home health agencies like Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care, BAYADA Home Health, and Enhabit Home Health provide other opportunities for nursing and residential facility employment.
Rhode Island licensed nursing assistants can also continue their nursing education at nursing schools within the state, including at the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, Salve Regina University, and Community College of Rhode Island, offering bridge programs for LPN and RN degrees and licensure.
You must, though, maintain your Rhode Island nursing assistant certificate of registration in good standing against professional disciplinary charges threatening your nursing assistant practice and nursing career. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for skilled and experienced defense of nursing assistant disciplinary charges, whether you are in Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Woonsocket, Cumberland, or any other Rhode Island location. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for Rhode Island licensed nursing assistant defense.
Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Nationwide Stakes
Rhode Island's Department of Health offers reciprocal nursing assistant registration by endorsement. Reciprocal endorsement means that you can license as a nursing assistant in Rhode Island if you have already completed equivalent licensure in another state that also reciprocates. Registration by endorsement saves you substantial time, trouble, and money when moving from state to state to practice as a nursing assistant. But if you suffer nursing assistant discipline in Rhode Island, you lose the reciprocity. You won't generally be able to license or register as a nursing assistant, nurse aide, or CNA in any other reciprocating state. If you suffer Rhode Island discipline, you may not be able to practice as a nursing assistant anywhere in the U.S. You may also find your nursing education and career derailed by discipline. Don't ignore your disciplinary charges. Get the help of our premier Defense Team.
Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Registration
Rhode Island Statute Section 23-17.9-6 requires that every nursing assistant practicing in the state must obtain a certificate of registration and keep that registration in good standing against disciplinary charges if expecting to continue practice in the state. Rhode Island's statutory scheme for nursing assistant registration enables healthcare and nursing facilities within the state to meet federal regulations restricting federal healthcare and nursing care funding to facilities employing trained and registered nursing assistants. Rhode Island isn't just making things difficult for you with registration, nor simply protecting patients and residents. It is also helping facilities and services within the state get the federal funding that helps to pay you.
Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Qualifications
Rhode Island Statute Section 23-17.9-3 requires that the Department of Health adopt regulations for training nursing assistants for registration in the state that meet the federal funding requirements. The Department of Health has done so at Administrative Rule 22.5, codified at 216-RICR-40-05-22. Under those rules, the Department of Health has approved nursing assistant training programs like the ones offered at the Community College of Rhode Island and Lifespan Health System. As a licensed nursing assistant in Rhode Island, you are familiar with the requirements of those training programs. You complete a specific number of hours of coursework and clinical training, passing a written exam and competency exam at the training's conclusion. You also gained substantial practical work experience to qualify for your Rhode Island nursing assistant certificate of registration. Don't underestimate its value or throw away all your hard work gaining registration. Retain our Defense Team to help you defend your nursing assistant disciplinary charges.
Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Disciplinary Authority
Rhode Island Statute Section 23-17.9-8 authorizes the state's Department of Health to receive or make complaints against licensed nursing assistants and to discipline those nursing assistants right up to revoking their certificate of registration. The Department of Health carried that authority into effect under administrative rules at 216-RICR-40-05-22, specifically Rule 22.6. The Department of Health devotes an office, staff, and other resources toward implementing its statutory authority to discipline nursing assistants and other health professions that the Department regulates. Don't underestimate the Department's power, ability, and willingness to discipline nursing assistants who violate the profession's laws, regulations, and standards. Don't ignore disciplinary charges. Let our Defense Team help you make your best defense against those charges.
Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Disciplinary Decisions
The Rhode Island Department of Health publishes its disciplinary decisions online for employers, other licensing officials, patients, residents, their family members, and the public to examine. The online information discloses the nursing assistant's name and penalty. Those interested in more detail can link online to the record of the individual decision, showing the wrongs that the Department of Health found that the named nursing assistant committed. The Department reaches dozens of such decisions against healthcare professionals annually. If you ignore your disciplinary charges and suffer discipline, you won't be able to conceal that decision from the public, your nursing school, your employer, or licensing officials in other states. Clear your name and record as best you can with our Defense Team's help.
Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Disciplinary Sanctions
If the accused nursing assistant does not effectively contest the charges, Rhode Island disciplinary officials may impose a range of sanctions against licensed nursing assistants right up to revoking the license. Rhode Island Statute Section 23-17.9-8 states expressly, "The department may suspend or revoke any certificate of registration issued under this chapter or may reprimand, censure, or otherwise discipline or may deny an application for registration" after investigation and hearing. License revocation means losing your nursing assistant job in Rhode Island and likely equivalent jobs elsewhere. License suspension means the same for the duration of the suspension unless and until officials reinstate the license after the suspension.
The broader authority of Rhode Island disciplinary officials to "reprimand, censure, or otherwise discipline" a nursing assistant official found violated rules and standards may give our Defense Team the opportunity to negotiate with officials for a resolution that will keep your license in good standing. Our attorneys may be able to convince disciplinary officials that your remedial education or training will suffice or that other exonerating or mitigating circumstances warrant early voluntary dismissal of your disciplinary charges.
Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Rhode Island Department of Health disciplinary officials must ground their disciplinary charges in one of the authorizing statute's enumerated violations. Disciplinary officials cannot make up violations as they go along but must instead connect the allegations of wrongdoing with one or more of the statutory or regulatory grounds. Rhode Island Statute Section 23-17.9-8 lists several grounds for discipline, while Department of Health administrative Rule 22.6 at 216-RICR-40-05-22 repeats those grounds while stating additional related grounds. Consider below each of the disciplinary grounds and the defenses we may be able to raise as to each ground.
Unfitness as Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Rhode Island Statute Section 23-17.9-8's first ground for discipline involves "proof that the nursing assistant is unfit or incompetent by reason of negligence, habits, or other causes." The next ground is similar, involving "proof that the nursing assistant has … acted in a manner inconsistent with the health and safety of the patients of the home in which he or she is providing nursing assistant services." Examples of unfitness for practice can include wrong and injurious methods of lifting, moving, and transferring patients, incorrect cleaning and bathing methods resulting in infection, and other basic errors. Defense of unfitness charges may involve showing that the accused nursing assistant did not make those errors, others made the errors, any errors were not harmful to the patient or resident, or the conduct was within the nursing assistant's standard of care.
Criminal Conviction as Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Rhode Island Statute Section 23-17.9-8's next ground for the discipline of a nursing assistant involves "proof that the nursing assistant has been convicted in a court of competent jurisdiction, either within or without this state, of a felony." Felony convictions can include assault, sexual assault, battery, robbery, burglary, arson, embezzlement, and other serious crimes. Defense of disciplinary charges based on criminal convictions generally involves showing that the accused nursing assistant did not suffer the alleged conviction or that the conviction was not a qualifying felony. The accused nursing assistant may not relitigate the criminal charge because the record of conviction establishes the ground.
Conduct Detrimental as Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Rhode Island Statute, Section 23-17.9-8's next ground for the discipline of a nursing assistant involves "conduct detrimental to the health, welfare, and safety of patients[ or] residents in" the nursing assistant's care. Detrimental conduct could include wrongs similar to those demonstrating unfitness or incompetence, such as errors in lifting, transferring, bathing, or feeding that lead to patient or resident harm, or other actions disruptive to patient or resident care like horseplay, weapons possession, smoking, or unsafe handling of toxic substances like cleaning fluids. Defense of detrimental conduct charges may involve showing that the nursing assistant did not commit the alleged conduct, the conduct did not occur, the complaining witness misidentified the accused nursing assistant, the nursing assistant was reasonably mistaken as to the circumstances, or the nursing assistant took the actions for patient or resident safety or security.
Unprofessional Conduct as Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Department of Health administrative Rule 22.6 at 216-RICR-40-05-22 adds the following nursing assistant disciplinary ground to the above statutory grounds: "proof that the nursing assistant or medication aide has engaged in unprofessional conduct including, but not limited to, a departure from, or failure to conform to, the standards of acceptable and prevailing practice." Unprofessional conduct, like detrimental conduct, is a broad category with, at best vague parameters. Unprofessional conduct could include allegations that the nursing assistant disrespected supervisors or peers, was insubordinate toward physicians, administrators, or supervising nurses, dressed inappropriately, maintained inappropriate demeanor such as anger, sullenness, and refusal to speak cordially to patients, residents, and co-workers, was unreliable in reporting for work as assigned, and disrupted the smooth operation of the facility.
Defenses to unprofessional conduct charges could involve proof that the accused nursing assistant did not commit the misconduct, the complaining witness misunderstood the nursing assistant's words or actions, the conduct did not transgress clearly defined bounds for professionalism, the allegations are unfairly subjective, or the nursing assistant had emergency mitigating circumstances such as a medication reaction, death in the family, or other stressful major life events.
Privacy Invasion as Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Department of Health administrative Rule 22.6 at 216-RICR-40-05-22 also adds the following nursing assistant disciplinary ground to the above statutory grounds: "proof that the nursing assistant or medication aide has, without the patient's consent, taken a photograph or made an audio or video recording of a patient, or has uploaded a photograph, audio or video recording of a patient to the internet, or who has disseminated a photograph, audio or video recording of a patient in any manner." Defending privacy invasions generally requires proof that the nursing assistant did not commit the alleged wrong, that any photograph or video was made for security or other permissible purposes, or that the patient or resident requested the photograph for reasonable purposes.
Abandonment as Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Department of Health administrative Rule 22.6 at 216-RICR-40-05-22 also adds the following nursing assistant disciplinary ground to the above statutory grounds: "proof that the nursing assistant or medication aide abandoned a patient or failed to appear for scheduled employment." Defense to an abandonment charge may involve proof that the nursing assistant did not have responsibility for the allegedly abandoned patient, the patient did not face abandonment, or the nursing assistant was reasonably unaware of the assignment and the patient's circumstances.
Abuse as Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Department of Health administrative Rule 22.6 at 216-RICR-40-05-22 also adds the following nursing assistant disciplinary ground to the above statutory grounds: "proof that the nursing assistant or medication aide has engaged in any form of abuse as defined in this Part." Rule 22.3 defines abuse as:
- "any assault or battery" as Rhode Island law defines those crimes;
- "any conduct which harms or is likely to harm a patient"; or
- "intentionally engaging in a pattern of harassing conduct … likely to cause emotional or psychological harm to the patient.
Rule 22.3 defines harassing conduct to include "ridiculing or demeaning a patient, making derogatory remarks to a patient, cursing directed towards a patient, and threatening to inflict physical or emotional harm on a patient." Rule 22.3 excuses upsetting conduct that "is a part of the care and treatment and in furtherance of the health and safety of the patient."
Abuse charges can be difficult to defend because they allege intentionally harmful conduct and thus carry a heavy weight of condemnation of the accused nursing assistant's good character. Defenses to abuse can include that the patient or resident misidentified the accused nursing assistant or that the nursing assistant took the upsetting action under instructions from supervisors in a reasonable belief that it was a necessary part of a course of care or treatment.
Exploitation as Grounds for Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Discipline
Department of Health administrative Rule 22.6 at 216-RICR-40-05-22 also adds the following nursing assistant disciplinary ground to the above statutory grounds: "proof that the nursing assistant or medication aide has participated in a physical or financial relationship with a patient." Rule 22.6 further cautions that "consent of the patient shall not constitute a defense against the violation" of this rule. Physical and financial relationships can be inappropriate because of the prospect for the nursing assistant to coerce, deceive, or manipulate the patient or resident into a relationship the patient or resident would otherwise oppose.
Examples of inappropriate physical relationships may include cuddling, hugging, napping together, sitting on one another's lap, sexual stimulation, wrestling, or other horseplay. Examples of inappropriate financial relationships include gifts of money or items of value, payment of bonuses or other compensation for services the employer already compensated, sales of personal property, loans, and payments of debts or other obligations the patient or resident makes on the nursing assistant's behalf. Defense of exploitation charges generally requires proof that the accused nursing assistant did not share the relationship or that the complaining patient or resident is mistaken, deluded, or an otherwise unreliable witness.
Rhode Island CNA Disciplinary Procedures
If you face Rhode Island licensed nursing assistant disciplinary charges, you should trust that disciplinary officials will provide you with constitutional due process if you timely and properly invoke those protective procedures. Department of Health administrative Rule 22.6 at 216-RICR-40-05-22 incorporates the state's Administrative Procedures Act. The Administrative Procedures Act provides detailed rules for contested cases before the state's administrative agencies, including the Department of Health, when charging a nursing assistant with misconduct. The Department may generally default you if you do not timely respond to its notice of disciplinary charges. But the Department must provide you with a formal notice detailing the charges, the potential consequences if you do not respond, how you may respond, and the hearing and other protective procedures available to you.
Those protective procedures permit you to invoke a formal hearing if you disagree with the charge or proposed sanction. Your request for a formal hearing may permit you to communicate and negotiate for early voluntary dismissal of the charges in favor of remedial education and training or other appropriate action on your part, preserving your license, job, and career. If you cannot resolve the matter informally, then your formal hearing gives you the opportunity to present witnesses and documentary evidence on your behalf while challenging the Department's witnesses against you, including by cross-examination. The administrative hearing officer must consider only the testimony of witnesses appearing at the hearing, must make a record of the hearing, and must write a decision on all charges, sharing that decision with you. The Administrative Procedures Act also permits you to appeal to the state courts for a limited review of the administrative decision.
Defense Services for Rhode Island Nursing Assistants
Our Defense Team can do many things to help you strategically and effectively invoke the above protective procedures. Our attorneys can ensure that you timely and properly request your formal hearing. We can negotiate informally with disciplinary officials, putting forward your exonerating and mitigating evidence while seeking voluntary relief that preserves your certificate of registration, job, and nursing career. If a formal hearing remains necessary, our attorneys can research, draft, and file hearing briefs, attend the hearing to cross-examine Department witnesses while presenting your own witnesses and make legal arguments to the hearing officer. We can also help you evaluate the hearing officer's decision and appeal any adverse decisions if an appeal is necessary and appropriate. These are just a few of the many defense services our attorneys can provide.
Premier Rhode Island Nursing Assistant Defense Available
The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available in Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Woonsocket, Cumberland, and any other Rhode Island location for your nursing assistant certificate of registration defense. Hundreds of professionals nationwide have trusted the Lento Law Firm for the defense of disciplinary charges. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now.