Main Functions of Disciplinary Action

  • Manage the disciplinary process for cases referred from the Investigations Department to final resolution (Discipline).
  • Handle requests and/or subpoenas for board file public records, other records and information.
  • Maintain the integrity of information reported to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing data base, which serves as the intermediary to two federal data bases.

Grounds

Law Governing the Practice of Nursing, including:

  1. La. R.S. 37:921. Grounds for disciplinary proceedings
  2. La. R.S. 37:922. Hearings by board
  3. La. R.S. 37:925. Violations; penalty
  4. La. R.S. 37:930.  Anesthetics; authority to administer; penalty

 

Rules and Regulations, Title 46, Professional and Occupational Standards, Part XLVII. Nurses. Subpart 2. Registered Nurses, including:

  1. LAC 46:XLVII. 3403. Proceedings against a Registered Nurse, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Registered Nurse Applicant, APRN Applicant or a Student Nurse
  2. LAC 46:XLVII. 3405. Definition of Terms
  3. LAC 46L:XLVI.3411. Formal Hearing
    • Emergency Action
    • Disciplinary Action in Another Licensing Jurisdiction
    • Adjudged Incompetence

Process

Proviso:  This section provides a simplified overview and is not comprehensive.

When, after the individual has been given the opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements, the investigation findings indicate, that an individual has violated the Nurse Practice Act and that disciplinary action is warranted, the matter is transferred to the Hearing Department for handling of the disciplinary process.

  • The Board shall not be bound by strict rules of procedure or other laws of evidence in the conducting of its proceedings.  A disciplinary proceeding, including the formal board hearing, is less formal then a judicial proceeding, not subject to strict rules and technicalities but must be conducted with consideration of fair play and constitutional requirements of due process.

Resolution by Board hearing

  1. The board staff will file a formal, sworn Complaint, also called “formal charges”, charging the violation of one or more provisions of LA R.S. 911, and the specific violation(s) thereof.
  2. At least 20 days prior to the date of the hearing, the formal charges and notice of the date and time of hearing are sent by proper service to the individual’s address of record.  Notice and service are complete when sent by certified mail to the address of record.
  3. On the day of the board hearing, if the individual does not appear in person or by legal counsel after proper notice has been given, then the Board may proceed with the hearing without the presence of the individual.
  4. At the board hearing, the Board of Nursing is represented by board legal counsel who prosecutes the matter by submitting evidence such as records, items and witness testimony to support the charges as filed.  The individual may present evidence of the same type, either personally or through legal counsel.
  5. Order of proceedings at a board hearing:
    • Board’s legal counsel who will be presenting the evidence against the individual has the option of making an opening statement;
    • The individual or his/her legal counsel has the option of making an opening statement;
    • Board’s legal counsel presents the case against the individual by introducing evidence and witness testimony
    • The board members ask questions of each witness, then
    • The individual or legal counsel cross-examines the same witness.
    • The individual’s or his/her legal counsel presents evidence and witnesses
    • The board members ask questions of each witness, then
    • The Board’s legal counsel cross-examines the same witness.
    • The Board’s legal counsel presents a rebuttal argument of the individual’s evidence.
    • The individual or his/her legal counsel presents a rebuttal of the evidence issued against him/her.
    • Each side has the option of making a closing statement and the Board’s legal counsel may make a final statement.
    • The Board will deliberate on the matter, will decide on the findings of fact, conclusions of law and discipline, then will issue a Final Order of the Board.
    • The individual is notified by mail of the Final Order of the Board of Nursing.

Resolution by voluntary agreement in lieu of a board hearing

  • Consent Order is the most common method used for final resolution of a disciplinary matter.
  • In most cases, prior to the board hearing, board staff will attempt to settle the matter by offering to the individual a voluntary agreement, called a Consent Agreement or Consent Order, a document in which the individual consents to the facts of the case, to the recommended disciplinary action, and to compliance with listed requirements.  Signing a Consent Order binds the individual to the terms of the agreement, but the Consent Order must be later presented to the Board for its acceptance and issuance of the document as a final board order.
  • In the event a Consent Order is not accepted by the individual, the board staff will file a formal Complaint (also called formal charges) in order to move the matter to resolution.  However, board staff shall have the right to refer any case directly to an administrative hearing without first offering a Consent Order.

For the law regarding the disciplinary process, please refer to the state statutes, regulations and associated law, including but not limited to:

  • Law Governing the Practice of Nursing, LA R.S. 37:911, et. seq., including 921, 922, 923, 924, 925 and 926.
  • Rules and Regulations, Title 46, Professional and Occupational Standards, Part XLVII, Nurses.  Subpart 2. Registered Nurses, Chapter 34, Disciplinary Proceeding, including 3401, 3403, 3405, 3407, 3409, 341 and 3413.
  • Administrative Procedure Act shall govern proceedings on questions of violation of LA R.S. 37:911, et seq, as re-enacted and amended.

Types

Whether by order of the Board (subsequent to a board hearing) or by voluntary agreement (later approved by the Board), the types of discipline are:

Formal Reprimand:

The least restrictive form of discipline.  A written communication of admonishment to the individual stating the Board’s concerns.  This discipline remains associated with the individual’s license file as “Prior Board Action”.

Suspension with Stay and/or Probation:

The license remains active, but is suspended with stay of said suspension. The licensee is placed under board staff supervision and must meet probationary monitoring requirements. Failure to comply may result in an automatic suspension of the license.

Suspension of license:

The license is held in abeyance and the individual is prohibited from the practice of nursing during the period of suspension.

Voluntary Surrender of License:

A type of Consent Order in which the license or permit is invalidated at the time of relinquishment; the findings of fact are admitted; the individual is ineligible for license reinstatement for a minimum of two years and until meeting certain requirements; and the action is reported in the same manner as a final decision by the Board.  Also see Board Rules and Regulations at 3409.C.1-3.

Summary Suspension of License:

When it has been determined by board staff that the public health, safety and welfare require emergency action, immediate suspension of issued by staff pending a disciplinary proceeding that shall be promptly instituted and determined at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.  Notice to the individual is sent by certified mail to the board’s address of record.

Revocation of License:

The license is annulled or made void. A revoked licensee may apply for reinstatement five years after the date that the board’s revocation order became final. However, a person whose license or licenses are revoked permanently or are declared permanently revoked shall never be allowed to practice registered nursing in Louisiana, and an application for reinstatement shall not be considered.

Reporting

Special reminder:  Disciplinary action(s) on a license always remain(s) associated with the individual’s license as “Prior Board Action”.

  • The LSBN website:

Disciplinary actions issued against individuals are published on the LSBN website at:

It is the policy of the Louisiana State Board of Nursing to comply with federal and state requirements for reporting disciplinary board actions.

Individuals described below who have board discipline are reported:

  • Individuals with RN licenses,
  • Individuals with APRN licenses,
  • Individuals with Temporary RN or APRN Permits,
  • Initial RN or APRN Licensure Applicants,
  • Endorsement Applicants, and
  • Reinstatement Applicants.

Discipline reports are reported to the:

  • National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).