What authority does a board of nursing possess?

In many of my blogs, I have reviewed a board of nursing’s power granted to it by a state legislature.

The power of a board of nursing is quite broad and includes the ability to grant a license to an applicant as an RN, LPN or advanced practice registered nurse.

The board’s power also extends to deny such a license and to discipline a nurse licensee. It can impose disciplines such as a reprimand, probation, suspension of the license and revocation of the license.

In the State of Ohio v. Fontana (2019), a nurse practitioner questioned the criminal court’s order denying her participation in an Intervention in Lieu of Conviction program and to surrender her APRN license after pleading guilty to several drug felonies.

Facts of the case

The nurse practitioner, who had prescriptive privileges, suffered from multiple sclerosis. As a result, she had severe pain.

The nurse practitioner wrote prescriptions for various opioids for her mother, who was not a patient of hers and who did not have a legitimate need for the opioids. Instead, the nurse practitioner used the prescribed medications for herself.

When this was discovered, she was charged with 15 counts in the criminal case. Twelve counts were for the “illegal processing of drug documents,” fourth-degree felonies in Ohio, and three more counts of “illegal processing of drug documents,” fifth-degree felonies in Ohio.

The nurse practitioner pleaded guilty to six of the fourth-degree felony charges and two of the fifth-degree felony charges.

Asserting her rights under Ohio law, she filed a Motion for Intervention in Lieu of Conviction, which would allow her to participate in the program if she met certain requirements. If eligible, the nurse practitioner would be in the program for a year, which included not using illegal drugs or alcohol, participating in treatment and recovery support services, and submiting to regular random drug screens.

Upon successful completion of the program, her case would be dismissed, no conviction would occur and the court records would be sealed.

After a hearing to determine her eligibility, the court denied her request to participate in the Intervention in Lieu of Conviction program due to the 16 instances she improperly used her prescriptive authority.

The court also required the nurse practitioner to relinquish her RN and APRN licenses.

The nurse practitioner appealed the court’s order.

Appellate court’s decision

The appeals court carefully reviewed the criminal trial court’s order and applicable case law. The court clearly held the trial court exceeded its authority when it ordered the forfeiture of her nursing licenses.

“The authority to revoke or suspend a nursing license lies with the board of nursing. The board can revoke, suspend or restrict an individual’s nursing license if the person is convicted of a felony,” the ruling stated.

The court also opined that the trial court properly determined the nurse practitioner was not a “good candidate” for participation in the Intervention in Lieu of Conviction program, which is not a legal right nor a mandatory option. Rather, a court’s determination is discretionary.

The case was affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded …read more

Read full article here: nurse.com