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Explaining Nursing Discipline Action  

Explaining Nursing Discipline Action  

nurse discipline

Nursing students are educated through weekend nursing programs to uphold high ethical decisions and safety standards, thus making nursing one of the most trusted professions in healthcare services. This guide to nurse disciplinary actions explains what happens in case of mistakes by practitioners or medical teams.

Most nursing misconduct during professional practice can be addressed either through state boards or civil suits.

What is Nursing Discipline?

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, professional nursing discipline “directly affects their license and ability to practice medical care as healthcare providers.” State boards responsible for licensure also investigate any complaints of nursing misdeeds that lead to negative consequences like termination, civil suits, criminal charges, or employer reprimand. But nurse disciplinary actions directly influence a nurse’s license status.

State boards that administer nursing disciplinary action may issue warnings or fines against nurses as part of their action or require them to complete professional development courses as part of disciplinary measures taken against them.

What is the Nursing Disciplinary Process?

Nursing discipline measures consist of six phases:

How to File a Complaint

Anybody aware of suspected violations of the state nurse practice act, unethical conduct, or anything that threatens patient health and safety can file a formal complaint at the state board of nursing.

Healthcare professionals must report violations promptly or risk being sued; nurses have an additional option of reporting themselves or colleagues for misconduct. Criminal convictions will also initiate an evaluation process.

Initial Review

To assess any complaint under state nurse practice laws, the nursing board will first assess if there has been any violation to state nurse practice laws in question. While not determining its legitimacy or invalidity, only whether its jurisdiction exists can this process take place successfully.


The investigation process will depend on the nature and severity of a complaint, but typically interviews will include meetings between nurses, witnesses, and patients as well as a review of documentation or any evidence present during the investigation process – this may take up to several months depending on its complexity.

Procedure For Board Proceedings

Should the board determine that your complaint is invalid, they can close it after conducting their investigation or hold a settlement hearing or conference to attempt resolution; alternatively, they could file formal charges or assign you to an alternative-to-discipline program as appropriate.

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Board Actions

Fines, reprimands, or remedial actions (including completion of mandatory education) are examples of nurse disciplinary actions taken against nurses by boards or regulatory authorities. Other possible forms include licensing restrictions that limit nursing license usage under specific conditions as well as a suspension for an allotted amount of time, eventually allowing continued work with restrictions placed upon it or suspension altogether.

Reporting and Enforcement

Each state board must notify both nurses and NPDB regarding all nursing disciplinary actions that take place under its purview, while the latter keeps records on licensing actions, malpractice suits, and healthcare professional data during patient care.

What Are the Primary Grounds for Nursing Disciplinary Actions?

Complaints typically fall under these broad categories:

  • Failure to abide by nursing tasks and advanced practice.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Sexual misconduct (for instance, engaging in sexual relationships with patients).
  • Violation of boundaries (by accepting gifts that violate those boundaries, such as accepting money gifts from patients without authorization)
  • Verbal and/or physical abuse of patients
  • Fraudulent behaviors

These are just some of the potential scenarios to consider when reviewing one’s practice as a nurse.

As with any profession, familiarizing and adhering to your state’s nurse practice act and seeking clarification from a supervisor are both ideal practices. Though accepting money or valuable gifts from patients violates their nurse practice act, many nurses don’t wish to hurt feelings when presented with small gifts of lesser value that might seem tempting – knowing where that line lies helps you respond more appropriately and can result in more efficient responses from you as a nurse.

If you wish to pursue nursing and learn more about the nursing discipline, You should look for a practical nursing program near me to get a deeper understanding of its aspects.

What Are the Most Frequently Taken Forms of Nursing Disciplinary Action?

Below are nurse disciplinary actions that could be taken against nurses:

  • Reprimand nursing.
  • Disciplinary actions may become increasingly severe if complaints about an individual continue.
  • Limited or restricted practice.
  • An individual can continue practicing, though with certain restrictions.
  • Suspended Practice. (loss of license for an agreed-upon timeframe)
  • License Revocation or Full Loss of License.
  • Fines or both, as the case may be
  • Remedial Education will likely also be mandated as punishment.

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Nurses seeking legal representation during disciplinary actions often choose an attorney as part of a strategy for defense, especially if there are proceedings that could include suspension or revocation of their license.