This is from the Ohio Nurses Association Legislative Action Center.
This is from the Ohio Nurses Association Legislative Action Center.
Although its not specified on the applications for initial licensure and endorsement, nursing school/college graduates and nurses are required to disclose expunged criminal convictions on the applications.
What does this mean? I think most nurses and nursing students would assume as told by criminal court staff that an expungement means you do not have to disclose and I think its fair to say there are a many of nurses and nursing students who will not disclose to the Indiana Nursing Board because the applications do not state "you are required to disclose expunged convictions or participation in a criminal court diversion program."
I have had many clients fail to disclose criminal convictions based on remarks and comments made by a judge, court staff, or even a baliff in a criminal court case.
The criminal case and a licensure matter are not one and the same and you should not rely on the advice of your criminal defense attorney in a Nursing Board licensure matter UNLESS your criminal defense attorney routinely practices before the Nursing Board and is familiar with nursing law and rules and standards of professional practice.
I think Boards should just come out and say it on the application. You are required to disclose expunged convictions or you are not required to disclose expunged convictions.
Again, if you have a criminal conviction and you are unsure of how to answer the application for licensure, contact the Board or contact a licensure defense attorney in your jurisdiction.
I spoke with a nurse who feels she was shafted by her attorney in a licensure matter.
She paid the attorney in full and the attorney basically did nothing on her case, did not return her calls, did not contact the Nursing Board, etc.
The nurse was referred to this attorney by a colleague who told her "this attorney has represented alot of nurses before the Board." The attorney told the nurse, I have handled cases with this Board investigator and I have represented countless nurses before the Board.
What could this nurse have done differently? She was referred to the attorney by a colleague and the attorney represented himself very well during the initial meeting.
1. Google your the attorney or the law firm to get an idea of what information (the good, the bad, and the ugly) is available about the attorney.
2. Contact The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA) at www.taana.org. Is the attorney a member of the TAANA?
3. Look at the attorney's and law firm's website to get a feel for the attorney's education, experience, and expertise.
4. What is your gut impression of the attorney? If you are not comfortable with someone, then don't retain the person.
5. Contact your state nurses association for referrals and then research those attorneys.
6. Prepare a list of questions to ask the attorney and let the attorney know you have spoke with other attorneys.
7. How accessible is the attorney?
8. Are licensure cases the "bread and butter" cases for the attorney and the law firm or does attorney "dibble and dabble" in licensure matters?
This list is not all-inclusive. The Center for American Nurses has several articles available for members on retaining an attorney, the attorney-client relationship, etc. See www.centerforamericannurses.org.
Retaining an attorney is not cheap therefore you want to do your research before you retain someone and by all means speak with more than one attorney before you make your decision.
Over the weekend I received two emails from nursing students pertaining to criminal convictions and licensure. I don't know why these nursing schools and colleges are not steering nursing students and graduate nurses to attorneys to discuss their suitability for licensure and employability related to criminal convictions.
I will say what some deans, educators, or nursing enrollment folks won't or can't say. Nursing is not for everyone who wants to be a nurse. If you have certain criminal convictions, being a licensed nurse may littered with legal minefields and potholes.
One of the cases of course involved a DUI and the other case involved an assault. Nursing students should also look into purchasing professional liability insurance with a licensure defense protection benefit when starting nursing school and maybe this policy will assist with legal fees and costs associated with the licensure matter.
Most nursing students or graduate nursing students that contact my office needed assistance yesterday and time is always of the essence. I have even had upset and angry parents contact my office.
If I had $39.95 for each and every time in the past, present, and future I have made this statement, I could afford to have the Dog Whisperer work with my two labs, Luke and Leia.
If you are a nursing student or graduate nurse and you have a criminal conviction, even if it has been expunged or diverted (you completed a diversion program in a criminal court), talk to a licensure defense attorney in your state before you:
1. Apply to nursing school. Pay for a consultation. Why have a nursing diploma or degree if you can't obtain a license or your license is so restricted no employer will hire you?
I told one person last month who has searched for employment for over one year to no avail that with her criminal conviction and a very restricted nursing license, she should not have even applied to or went through nursing training. I don't think any employer will hire her with her criminal conviction (it can't be expunged).
Someone (director of nursing at the school of nursing, nursing counselor, etc.) should have mentioned this to her before she spent $45,000.00 for a nursing diploma. I spent less than $45,000.00 for private nursing school (ASN and BSN) at Xavier University and my law school tuition at the University of Cincinnati. But that's another post.
2. Apply for licensure. Pay for a consultation. How will the Board review your criminal convictions? What are your options? The Board isn't going to tell you your options because the staff at the Board are not your attorneys and cannot advise you.
I am going to tell you what most nursing students and graduate nurses do; the same as most nurses do in licensure matters. Money is always an issue (when isn't money an issue) and they represent themselves. Sometimes this turns out okay, sometimes it doesn't because you don't understand the process and you are not making informed decisions and being counseled and advised by someone with legal training in licensure matters.
The majority of Ohio Board of Nursing Complaints in Fiscal Year 2008 involved NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN Applicants for Licensure. See the Ohio Board of Nursing's website for the 2008 Fiscal Year Report.
Just my two cents, but nursing students spend tens of thousands of dollars to obtain their education and those with criminal convictions need to spend a few hundred dollars more for a legal consultation or a few thousand more for legal representation. Why? What is the use of a having a diploma or degree in nursing, if you can't get a license, have a license so restricted that you can't find a job, or can't find a job because of a criminal conviction(s).
Nursing is not for everyone and a licensure defense attorney will tell you what others may not if you seek counseling and advising early.
My buddy, Joe Flores did an excellent job presenting The Nurse as A Criminal Defendant on Wednesday, November 19, 2008. The program was presented as a legal webinar offered by the Center for American Nurses. See www.centerforamericannurses.org.
Joe is a certified NP and trial attorney in Texas and he represents nurses and other healthcare professionals in licensure matters and he is also a skilled criminal defense attorney.
See Joe's website at www.floreslaw.com. See also his youtube links at
• Joe can be reached by phone or e-mail at 361.887.8670 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Other legal discussions can be seen at www.youtube.com then typing in search term “Joe Flores”
We will have our 1st African-American President of the United States next year, President-Elect Barack Obama.
We have our 1st four star army general, who is a women. See http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/14/campbell.brown.general/index.html?iref=mpstoryview#cnnSTCText
What changes do you envision for nurses and the profession of nursing in this new era where anything is not only possible, but maybe probable?
Will Nursing Embrace Change? Is change coming to nursing? What are some of the changes needed in nursing?
All nurses should have BSNs.
All nurses should belong to a union.
LPNs are RNs are the same.
Now that I have your attention. The entry level to practice, unions, and the RN scope of practice vs. the LPN scope of practice are debates and issues that have festered for decades.
If you want to start a fist-fight and hear a slew of profanities with a group of nurses, mention one of the above, then call me.
What's wrong with nursing? It starts with the multiple entry levels to practice and progresses from there to the lack of power in the employer-employee relationship, lack of professional cohesiveness, unsafe working conditions and environments, and the shift of nursing from a calling to way to make decent money in a short period of time.
There are alot of rights and positives to nursing however why are we not moving forward as a profession? Is it the medical model? Is it because nursing is female dominated occupation? Is it because nurses are not being socialized into the professional practice of nursing? It is because nursing has evolved and the goals of nursing in 2010 are not the goals of nursing from the 1960s.
Did you see and read the DaVinci Code. Some would argue that organized medicine did a DaVinci on nursing earlier on. See Nursing, Physician Control, and the Medical Monopoly by Thetis M. Group.
Note, I did not say profession of nursing, because nursing is not recognized as a true profession.
This is my opinion and you are welcome to flame me but until we move forward with a BSN as a entry level to practice or implement some type of grandfathering but set the BSN as the entry level going forward, we will always be second class citizens among healthcare providers.
Stop the academic fighting and whining about the terminal degrees in nursing and push forward with an entry level degree for the nursing. Why? You can be LaTonia Denise Wright, RN, BSN, MSN, JD, MPH, MBA, DNP, CCRN, CNP, etc. however you are nurse like LaTonia Denise Wright, RN, ASN. No, a nurse isn't a nurse isn't a nurse, but to the majority a nurse is a nurse is a nurse because of entry-level to practice.
This isn't "dissing" ASN or diploma grads, because I have a ASN, but at what point will we as a profession stop dancing around the entry level to practice issue and move forward?
Here is the cut and paste:
LEBANON – A nurse at The Otterbein Home pleaded guilty today to five drug-related charges.
Tests of her patients revealed that they had not received the drugs that their charts indicated, Hutzel said.
Luff pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of drugs, one count of aggravated possession of drugs, and one count of illegal processing of a drug document, or altering the patient’s charts.
Her sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 6 in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
See this Guideline published by the Ohio Nurses Association.
The Guideline notes that most nurses are not familiar with their legal rights and nursing managers should inform impaired nurse of their rights including their right to self-incriminate. Really?
This is true however what I typically see are nurse managers, HR, and security working in conjunction with law enforcement like a tag team of good cop bad copy "to close a case" and illicit a confession from a nurse who is impaired or dependent.
Why? Once you say, yes I have been for example, diverting drugs, you feel better because you are owning up to your disease and this is the first step in treatment. But guess what? Here comes the criminal, employment, licensure, and regulatory knocks and blows.
My grandmother uses this expression periodically and growing up we would chuckle and wonder what it meant. We would wonder did it involved a kitchen utensil and laugh because it sounds so old fashioned.
A nurse contacted me earlier this year about a Nursing Board Complaint filed against him. I mailed him a packet of information and didn't hear anything from the nurse until recently. He represented himself and still is representing himself before the Nursing Board by submitting a statement and meeting with Nursing Board staff to discuss the complaint.
The Board has proposed a suspension of his license and he applied for a license in another state and that State Nursing Board is asking questions.
The nurse however is still questioning whether he needs to retain an attorney. Will he take the suspension or proceed to a hearing? What are his options? What should he do?
This is a prime example of the "wait and see" approach in licensure cases. I am going to wait and see what happens if I represent myself and avoid paying the legal fees of an attorney.
I don't know what the nurse will do but I do have a better idea of what my grandmother meant by from shift to s+*&!
The Poll on my blog asks What is the Status of Your Nursing License?
The majority of the 132 responses are in the IL, OH, KY, MI, and IN areas. If you haven't answered the poll, please do so. There isn't any identifying information about you from the poll posted online.
This blog averages anywhere from 650-1,400 views a week, therefore if you haven't done so, complete the poll.
Do you have any suggestions for future polls on my blog? If so, let me know I will consider using your suggestion and giving you credit, if you like for the question.
I am going to try to attend the Ohio Nursing Board meeting next as there are several interesting Agenda items, as usual. The public hearing on proposed changes to Ohio Nursing Board regulations starts at 1pm on Wednesday, Nov. 19th in Columbus, Ohio.
I would encourage you to attend a least one Board meeting a year to find out more about your State Nursing Board. It will open your eyes to the importance of staying abreast of nursing regulation in your state and the types of disciplinary cases before the Nursing Board.
I am moderating the Center for American Nurses legal webinar, the Nurse as a Criminal Defendant on Wed, Nov. 19th from 7pm to 8:15pm EST. See www.centerforamericannurses.org. So I will have to drive to Columbus around 10am and leave no later than 3pm.
I will probably power pack our luggage Wednesday night.
We are also leaving for vacation on Thursday, Nov. 20-Monday, Nov. 24th. We are flying out of Columbus in the afternoon, so I will be driving back to Columbus, Ohio. We are staying at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. We are considering being married on the Wedding Gondola at the Venetian and plan to tour other wedding venues. We have narrowed it down to the Wynn, Venetian, or the MGM Hotel. I am so tired of planning this wedding already, that I wouldn't object to a McDonald's style "drive-thru"wedding in Las Vegas at this point. My sisters called me a Bridezilla the other day, but that's another post.
Next week is going to be off the chain busy, however I am looking forward to a much needed vacation and I promised my fiance, I will check and respond to emails and voicemails messages from clients and prosective clients, only at 12noon and 6pm to ease his worrying. I am self-employed and I run a business, so I am taking a laptop on vacation and if I need to work, then I will work. He doesn't ready my blog.
To see the Ohio Board of Nursing Agenda for the meeting next week, see the Board's website at
I was blown away by the caliber and determination of the DUI defense attorneys yesterday at the seminar I attended.
This seminar gave me a finer appreciation for criminal defense attorneys and the workings of DUI case law.
Nurses, if you are charged with a DUI/OVI/DWI, retain a criminal defense attorney that has experience in these types of cases.
Blowing positive the legal limit, isn't the kiss of death or an automatic conviction however you need to get someone involved who understands this types of cases and motion practice required.
One attorney joked whether citizens charged with DUI/OVI/DWI still have any constitutional rights in the litigation of those cases. I could relate as I often wonder this as a nursing license defense attorney.
Its interesting to note the prosecuting attorney take on DUI cases at the similiar was similiar to Nursing Board or Attorney General prosecuting attorneys in licensure cases.
I am attending a full-day DUI seminar at Cincinnati, Ohio today. This is my first criminal law full day seminar and it won't be my last.
As a licensure defense attorney, I am getting more and more involved in the criminal aspects of the law when a nurse is charged or convicted of crime.
I am seeing more and more DUI cases in my law practice where a nurse has been charged with a DUI, pled a DUI down to reckless operation, or convicted of a DUI.
I know alot of my posts are centered on chem dep here lately. Its because of alot of the legal consultations I am providing to prospective clients involve chem dep and DUI or allegations of drug theft or narc discrepancies in either Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
I am also attending a second full day seminar the day before Thanksgiving here in Cincinnati on DUI and the changes to Ohio law. There is a seminar in Indianapolis on traffic law next month but I don't think I will attend. I usually register for a conference in Indy and don't attend. It has to be a hell of conference for me to drive to Indy.
Its the same distance give or take a few miles to drive to Louisville, Lexington, Columbus, Ohio, or Indianapolis. Maybe its because I can't drive as fast going to Indy because of the police cars on the road.
Actually, I almost hit a deer driving from Chicago back to Cincinnati (you drive through Indianapolis) and it scared me. That's it. So if I have a 8am seminar in Indianapolis, then I have to leave Cinti around 5:45am and its dark and usually deer time on the expressways.
I can drive to Columbus, Louisville, and Lexington with my eyes closed but I don't get to Indianapolis as much. I am usually in Columbus at least 2-3 times a month or in Louisville at least once a month.
See this article written by the editors of a Cleveland newspaper on this topic.
Will this end up in the Supreme Court? Let's hope so.
I am not sure if this increased attention to chemically dependent or impaired nurses in Ohio will help or hurt nurses as far as the criminal, licensure, employment, and regulatory aspects.
It remains to be seen.
Here is the cut and paste:
How should the courts treat a nurse who stole morphine from Summa Health Center in Akron to get high?
Should the first-time offender get treatment in lieu of conviction and an opportunity to return to her profession without a blot on her record?
Or should she get a scarlet letter -- a felony on her record -- because her crime abused a position of trust?
There is no obvious answer, because the Ohio appeals courts have issued differing rulings. That's why this issue belongs in the Ohio Supreme Court.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh is appealing nurse Sally Massien's treatment in lieu of conviction sentence to the 9th Ohio District Court of Appeals -- and Walsh doesn't want it to end there. She hopes the case will be taken up by the Ohio Supreme Court. That's a good place for it.
Walsh argues that the law excludes nurses because they hold a position of trust at their medical facilities. She supports treatment, but firmly believes that a felony should be on an addicted nurse's record.
That sounds like a valid point, from the view of someone in a hospital bed whose pain-killers are in use by his nurse.
But an argument can be made that nurses who are first-time offenders have long qualified for the program in many counties and should continue to do so. They have an excellent recovery track record, because they have too much to lose if they become addicts again, experts say.
So there are good arguments on both sides. With such different opinions across the state, the diagnosis of this difficult case must come from the Ohio Supreme Court.
What the frack is going on in some Northern Ohio counties?
There was a time when the Cuyahoga County prosecutors would not bite at these types of cases for whatever reason. 10 indictments is making a statement. What is the statement?
Maybe its an election year. Maybe its part of protecting the public from those in positions of trust. Maybe its nurses gone wild. Maybe its simply a result of how widespread chemical dependency is in nursing and healthcare in general. Maybe its the war on drugs. Maybe its just plain and good old fashion s*&! on nurses year in some northern Ohio counties in 2008. See my previous posts under the Chemical Dependency category.
Nurses this underscores the importance of managing risk and seeking assistance before its too late if you have a chemical dependency issue.
This blog is viewed by nurses from all over the country. Please be advised that not all states deal with dependency issues and drug diversion in the same manner. In some states you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (and some) and dipped in hot wax not only in a felony criminal court case but also before a State Nursing Board. Talk to a licensure defense attorney in your state or jurisdiction ASAP. Contact your state nurses association for an attorney referral or see www.taana.org.
See this article from the Summer of 2008 http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2008/07/cuyahoga_county_prosecutors_in.html
Here is the cut and paste:
Ten nurses working at hospitals and health care facilities throughout Cuyahoga County were indicted Tuesday for stealing prescription drugs from their employers for personal use.
Many of the nurses helped themselves to high-potency painkillers, such as Vicodin and Demoral, from drug dispensing machines at their respective facilities, prosecutors say. But in other cases, the nurses stole the pills that were on their way to patients in pain.
The nurses worked at MetroHealth Medical Center, Bedford Community Hospital, the Northeast Ohio Pre-Release Center, HCR Manor Care Cleveland and several facilities affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic, including the Cleveland Clinic Dialysis Center, Hillcrest Hospital, Lutheran Hospital, South Pointe Hospital, Lakewood Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic Surgical Care Unit.
Some of the nurses were caught when supervisors confronted them for being impaired at work, said Ryan Miday, spokesman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason.
Seven of the nurses are first time offenders and cooperated with investigators, which makes them eligible for diversion programs in lieu of conviction through the county and the Ohio Nursing Board, Miday said. The programs have high success rates, he said. And in many cases, participants could have their nursing licenses restored.
The 10 cases were investigated by different police agencies; prosecutors chose to indict them all this summer.
Law enforcement pays special attention to health care workers because of their access to a ready supply of addictive drugs.
Prosecutors, working with Parma Heights police, on Tuesday also indicted a medical receptionist and an accomplice on 54 counts of drug trafficking and possession of drugs for running what prosecutors say was a prescription drug racket based out of the office of two unsuspecting doctors.
Prosecutors say Sarah Hughs, 25, of Cleveland, abused her job as a receptionist at Westside Medicine and Cardiology in Middleburg Heights to write prescriptions -- in the names of more than a dozen aliases -- for powerful painkillers, including Oxycontin, Percocet and Hydrocodone.
Jenny O'Grady, 34, of Parma Heights, would then take the prescriptions to be filled, prosecutors said, at pharmacies in Brooklyn, Brook Park, Brunswick, Medina, Cleveland, Middleburg Heights, North Royalton, Parma and Strongsville.
If pharmacists called the doctors' office with questions, Hughs made sure she was there to field them, investigators said.
The two women set up shop in O'Grady's Parma Heights apartment, where investigators believe they made more than $25,000 selling the drugs.
Parma Heights police detectives caught wind of the operation when they received a tip, said Captain Garry Lauter. The detectives staked out O'Grady's apartment in mid-December and followed her to Hughs' home. The women were arrested later that day, when they tried to submit a fake prescription at the Rite Aid pharmacy on Broadview Road in Cleveland.
Six counts of the indictment are for peddling super bulk amounts -- drugs either 100 times the strength or 100 times the quantity of a standard prescription. The charge carries a mandatory 10-year prison sentence. If convicted on all 54 counts, Hughs and O'Grady could be sentenced to as many as 287 years in prison
This article is considered a public record because it was posted on the Ohio Board of Nursing website as it was provided to Board Members for the November 2008 Board Meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
The article was written by Holly Fischer, General Counsel, Betsy Houchen, Executive Director, and Lisa Ferguson-Ramos, Compliance Manager. The staff are of course involved in nursing regulation and the article is written from a nursing regulation perspective.
Tell me what you think about the article.
See this ANA press release.
This is my opinion, but this was long overdue. I have nothing but respect for Linda Stierle and her accomplished and distinguished nursing career. However her retirement was long overdue from the American Nurses Association.
Labor oriented state nursing associations are leaving ANA, state nursing associations are in dire financial straits because of dwindling membership, and the nursing profession as whole does not support or belong to the American Nurses Association. ANA is not the organization it should be and could be for RNs.
I have been involved in national, state, and local nursing associations for a few years so I will give you this analogy. This is my opinion. Are you reading the articles and hearing about the post-mortem with the McCain campaign and the Republican Party?
Okay. The state of affairs for ANA and ANA-affiliated State Nursing Associations (in general) can be compared to the state of affairs for the Republican Party after Obama's election.
The ANA Board needs to look long and hard at itself and the organization and EVOLVE. There isn't enough interest in ANA by the majority of RNs in the United States for a revolution, but the organization needs to evolve.
Actually I am working for the nursing association that has the potential for evolve into a premier nursing association for all RNs and LPNs/LVNs in the near future and it is exciting. I love it! I saw the potential six years ago and have participated in the organization first as a Board Member, then a delegate, and now as a delegate and a consultant. See www.centerforamericanurses.org.
There is a convoluted disconnect and apathy between ANA and the 2,800,000+ RNs in the United States and if this current Board of MSNs, PhDs, JDs, and MSs doesn't shift through the BS and figure out how to bridge this disconnect and apathy, membership in the ANA will continue to decrease and the organization will wither.
Its the question that drives us. Is the question that brought you to this blog. "Us" being licensure defense attorneys.
The Matrix. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Matrix
I was asked this question this week by a nurse who is being investigated by a state nursing board. If I had $2.50 for each and every time I have heard this question, I could afford to purchase a heater for our in-ground swimming pool. http://www.propools.com/family.php/2240?frm=In%20Ground%20Pools:Heater:Heat%20Pump.
My response, is always should you represent yourself before the Nursing Board? Can you objectively represent yourself? Can you counsel and advise yourself on the attending workplace and regulatory issues associated with a licensure investigation? Are you familiar with Nursing Board disciplinary investigations and hearing process and procedures? Can you effectively implement a strategy to resolve the complaint in a manner that protects you and your license to the best extent possible? If action will proposed against your license, do you know your options? Is it in your best interest to settle or proceed to a hearing? If you monitored by the Board, will you counsel and advise yourself throughout this period also? Representation from the beginning to the end of a licensure matter.
This is what a nursing licensure defense attorneys does for a nurse.
I know finances are tight in this economy however its a personal decision whether or not to retain counsel and the majority of nurses do not retain legal counsel for representation in licensure matters.
I find it strange however that a professional has to question whether legal representation is needed or not. Forget what you hear about attorneys on law and order and other shows (although I love love and order special victim unit; I don't like criminal intent). You only need an attorney if you are "guilty" or if you have done something wrong. Attorneys represent, counsel, and advise you; its a basic right for all.
Actually I have an article that will be published in Nurses First next month (December 2008) about Miranda Rights and the Nursing Workforce of the future. See www.centerforamericannurses.org.
Would you question whether you need legal representation in a criminal case?
Would you question whether you need legal representation in a medical malpractice case?
Would you question whether you need legal representation if you were sued for defamation?
Would you question whether you need legal representation if your employer sued you for breach of an employment contract?
Then my question is why do we as nurses or nursing students question whether or not we need legal representation in a nursing board licensure matter?
The Center for American Nurses has a pamphlet available to members of the roles and benefits of a licensure defense attorney and this may be helpful to you when deciding whether or not retain an attorney in a licensure matter. If you are not a member of the Center, consider joining or purchasing the article.
Do you want to know one of the most common google searches where this blog appears?
"Nursing Board and DUI"
"Nurse and DUI"
"Nurse, DUI, and license"
"DUI and nursing license"
"Report DUI to Nursing Board"
What does this say to you?
Also take a look at the informal poll on my blog. Look at the number of the nurses with an active and unencumbered license vs. the number of nurses currently being investigated by a Nursing Board.
Its says alot of things to me, but what's your opinion.