Maybe you didn’t know this but Jerry Brown is now Governor of California because many nurses protested Meg Whitman’s threat to de-regulate the nurse-patient ratios. No one was arrested last fall but there were some heated scenes at hospitals across California when CEOs had their security disband a playful group of nurses portraying a monarchy ruled by the evil “Queen Meg”.
Apparently, the Board of Registered Nurses wants to stop this behavior as it proposes that any arrests of RNs should be considered “unprofessional conduct” and thereby be reported to the BRN. Failure to report could result in RNs losing their licenses. There are circumstances such as a public protest, a marriage dispute, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time that should not require a nurse to report an arrest. I believe this requirement is punitive and could result in innocent nurses made to go through an investigation by the board for using their civil liberty to uphold their right to be patient advocates. Doctors don’t have to report ALL arrests, why should nurses? Maybe because nurses are getting a little bit too vocal in the eyes of our political leaders, or could it be that nurses are beginning to wield their power of influence in ways that rock the status quo?
Take a look:
1441. Unprofessional Conduct.
“In addition to the conduct described in Section 2761 (a) of the Code, “unprofessional
conduct” also includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) Including or permitting to be included any of the following provisions in an
agreement to settle a civil dispute arising from the licensee’s practice, whether the agreement is
made before or after the filing of an action;
(1) A provision that prohibits another party to the dispute from contacting, cooperating,
or filing a complaint with the board.
(2) A provision that requires another party to the dispute to attempt to withdraw a
complaint the party has filed with the board.
(b) Failure to provide to the board, as directed, lawfully requested copies of documents
within 15 days of receipt of the request or within the time specified in the request. whichever is
later, unless the licensee is unable to provide the documents within this time period for good
cause, including but not limited to, physical inability to access the records in the time allowed
due to illness or travel. This subsection shall not apply to a licensee who does not have access to,
and control over, medical records.
(c) Failure to cooperate and participate in any board investigation pending against the
licensee. This subsection shall not be construed to deprive a licensee of any privilege guaranteed
by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or any other constitutional or
statutory privileges. This subsection shall not be construed to require a licensee to cooperate with a request that would require the licensee to waive any constitutional or statutory privilege or to comply with a request for information or other matters within an unreasonable period of time in light of the time constraints of the licensee’s practice. Any exercise by a licensee of any
constitutional or statutory privilege shall not be used against the licensee in a regulatory or
disciplinary proceeding against the licensee.
(d) Failure to report to the board, within 30 days, any of the following:
(1) The bringing of an indictment or information charging a felony against the licensee.
(2) The arrest of the licensee.
(3) The conviction of the licensee, including any verdict of guilty, or pleas of guilty or
no contest, of any felony or misdemeanor.
(4) Any disciplinary action taken by another licensing entity or authority of this state or
of another state or an agency of the federal government or the United States military.
(e) Failure or refusal to comply with a court order, issued in the enforcement of a
subpoena, mandating the release of records to the board.
All of the proposed regulatory changes will be discussed before the Senate Business and Professions Economic Committee at the Sunset Hearings in Sacramento on March 14, 2011. Go to: http://www.rn.ca.gov/pdfs/forms/sunset2010.pdf for the full report. While I do support the reporting of an indictment or a charge of a felony; RNs can NOT allow the requirement that any arrest, not reported to the BRN, constitutes unprofessional conduct that could end up in the nurse losing her license.
So although I much prefer my freedom of speech to occur over a cup of coffee involving something chocolate to eat, it’s time to break out the e-mail, fax machines and phones to get the message out loud and clear:
Please feel free to cut and paste this download, to e-mail, use as a telephone script or fax TODAY!
1625 N. Market Blvd. # N-217
Sacramento, Ca 95834
Phone: (916) 574-7684
Fax: (916) 574-7700
All comments must be received by the Board at its office not later than March 3, 2011.
Please make your voice heard! You do make a difference!