As a nurse, you are responsible for maintaining professionalism and integrity. This means being aware of, and adhering to, the self-reporting requirements set by the North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON).
But what exactly should you report, and when? It can be a confusing and overwhelming process, especially if you’re unsure of what’s required or if your employer is pressuring you to self-report an incident.
Failing to report a reportable conduct event or potentially reportable event to the NCBON could result in disciplinary action, including revocation or suspension of your license.
However, before making any decisions, it’s crucial to seek guidance from an experienced nursing license defense attorney in Charlotte to understand your rights and options. An attorney at Remington & Dixon, PLLC can help you determine whether or not you need to report a conduct event, what information is necessary for the self-report, and how to go about making a report.
What Should Be Reported to the NCBON?
It’s essential to be aware of the conduct events and potentially reportable events that you may need to report to the NCBON. Let’s start with the reportable conduct events. These include:
- Being charged with a DWI and drug charges: Recently, the NCBON changed their requirements so that nurses are required to report these charges within 30 days, regardless of whether they are convicted or not.
- Being impaired while on duty: This means being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while performing your responsibilities as a nurse. It’s crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of your patients, and being impaired can significantly compromise your ability to provide competent care.
- Drug diversion: This refers to the theft, misuse, or unauthorized distribution of prescription drugs, including controlled substances. This can be a serious issue, leading to harm or death for patients not receiving the proper medications.
- Fraud: This includes any intentional deception or misrepresentation in nursing practice. This could involve falsifying documents, billing fraud, or making false statements.
- Theft: This refers to the unauthorized taking of property or services, including the theft of drugs or equipment.
- Fraudulent prescription for controlled substances: This means issuing a prescription for a controlled or abusable substance without a legitimate medical purpose.
Depending on the circumstances, there are also potentially reportable events that may require self-reporting to the NCBON. These include:
- Failure to supervise: This refers to a nurse’s failure to provide appropriate oversight and guidance to nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, or other nurses.
- Abandonment: This means the nurse has abandoned their patients without properly transferring care to another qualified individual.
- Exceeding the scope of practice: This refers to a nurse practicing outside their expertise or education.
- Neglect: This includes any actions or inactions that result in harm or potential harm to a patient, including sleeping on duty.
Finally, it’s important to note that there are also common non-reportable events to the NCBON. These include:
- “No call-no show”: This refers to not showing up for a scheduled shift without adequately informing the employer.
- Refusal to accept an assignment: This means declining an assignment without a valid reason.
- Rudeness or non-threatening verbal interactions with patients or staff: This includes any rude or inappropriate behavior that does not risk patient safety.
Nurses must be aware of the reportable conduct events and potentially reportable events so they can act per their professional obligations and ethical standards.
Failing to report a reportable conduct event or potentially reportable event to the NCBON could result in disciplinary action, including revocation or suspension of a nurse’s license. If you need clarification on whether a specific event or circumstance requires self-reporting, you should seek guidance from an experienced license defense attorney. It is NOT advisable to contact your employer or the NCBON with these questions, as it may raise red flags.
Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to upholding the integrity of the nursing profession.
Are There Any Timeframes for Reporting?
Under the current law, nurses are responsible for reporting within 30 days of discovering an event or circumstance related to the nurse’s ability to practice safely and competently. Failure to report may subject a nurse to disciplinary action by their employer or the NCBON. This includes arrests and convictions for crimes that bear on their fitness to practice nursing, according to 21 NCAC 36 .0217.
For example, if you face a felony or indictment charge, you may be required to self-report this to the NCBON. The same is true if you are convicted of a crime that indicates you are unfit or incompetent to practice nursing or have deceived or defrauded the public.
It’s important to note that these timeframes apply to the discovery of the event or circumstance, not the date of the event itself. This means that if you discover an event or occasion that requires self-reporting more than 30 days after it occurred, you still have a responsibility to report it within 30 days of discovery.
Self-Reporting Requirements for DWIs
It’s important to note that the NC BON has specific requirements for self-reporting DWIs. If you are charged with a DUI, you must report the charge within 30 days. The BON also requires that you provide information about any conviction, including:
- The date of your arrest;
- The name and location of the court that held your case;
- A description of the offense charged and its elements (e.g., driving while impaired);
- The date of conviction; and
- The penalty imposed by the court (e.g., fines, community service hours, license suspension).
If you get a DWI while licensed in another state, you must still report it to your NCBON. Before self-reporting a DWI to the NCBON, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney to understand your rights and options.
An attorney can help you understand the potential consequences of self-reporting and advise you on the best course of action. They can also help you navigate the legal process and defend your rights if necessary.
It’s important to remember that self-reporting a DWI to the NCBON does not necessarily mean that your nursing license will be automatically suspended or revoked.
However, it’s crucial to be proactive in addressing the situation and seeking legal guidance to protect your rights and minimize potential consequences.
Does Self-Reporting Help Lessen Punishments?
Self-reporting can demonstrate a willingness to take responsibility for the conduct in question and show a commitment to upholding the integrity of the nursing profession. This could help mitigate disciplinary action by the NCBON. However, it’s important to remember that self-reporting does not guarantee disciplinary action will be lessened or avoided.
In some cases, self-reporting may also provide immunity from civil suits. However, this is not always the case, and it’s essential to seek guidance from an attorney to understand the specific circumstances and potential consequences of self-reporting.
Get the Legal Guidance You Need from Remington & Dixon, PLLC
Self-reporting to the NCBON can be difficult and stressful for nurses. Understanding your legal obligations and the consequences of failing to report a reportable conduct event or potentially reportable event is essential.
Before making any decisions, it’s crucial to seek guidance from an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.
At Remington & Dixon, PLLC, a North Carolina nursing license defense attorney can provide you with the legal guidance you need to navigate this process.
So if you need help determining whether to self-report to the NCBON or have any other questions on this topic, feel free to contact us today. We’re here to help you protect your professional integrity.
FAQs About Self-Reporting Nursing Conduct
What should I do if the NCBON contacts me for reportable conduct or potentially reportable event information?
Can self-reporting help lessen punishments or provide immunity from civil suits?
However, it’s essential to understand that self-reporting is not a guarantee of leniency or immunity, and it’s crucial to seek guidance from an experienced attorney before making any decisions.
An attorney can help you understand the potential consequences of self-reporting and protect your rights.
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.