Everywhere we turn today we see over-regulation of everything from safety regulations to business regulations and the nursing arena is no different. The government is very busy protecting us from ourselves. Each state has, through their own Nurse Practice act their own board of nursing that governs the laws and regulations for nurses.
Due to the deference of the 10th Amendment, there is no federal nursing law. If there are allegations of malpractice with any nurse, on a state or federal level, the board of nursing in the state where the nurse resides is responsible for the investigative and disciplinary process.
While keeping the feds out of nursing may seem like a great idea there are problems in paradise. Nursing boards were established to protect the people. But often during the process, they overstep their boundaries without considering nurses at all.
Many of these boards are made up of unelected officials and they are guilty of abusing their power and authority. They essentially answer to no one and are regulation run amuck. They are unsupervised bureaucrats that can, and often do whatever they like.
Because they are in charge of regulating nurses there are regulations, not laws. This makes it impossible to fight them if you're a nurse who feels you've been treated unfairly.
It is easier to get regulations changed, rather than laws, but not with the board of nursing. You can't discuss change related to nursing with state representatives because they are only interested in changing laws, not regulation. This is what makes the board of nursing in each state so very powerful. A nurse who has been wronged doesn't stand a chance against the board of nursing.
In the state of Kentucky, for example, if a nurse has her license suspended and jumps through all their hoops to get it reinstated, the history of her suspension and the reason her license was suspended will stay on her record for 20 years. Yes, 20 years! You could murder someone and be out of jail by then. It's absurd.
Once a nurses' license has been suspended the board of nursing reports this information to every website that is used for employee verification, including the Office of the Inspector General. So when the nurse attempts to obtain employment she is unsuccessful, because the board mandates that these websites be checked before employing any nurse.
Any nurse who is on the Office of the Inspector General's list cannot work for any facility that accepts Medicare and/or Medicaid, in any capacity, not even to sweep the floors.
No one can afford the money that it would cost to get this regulation changed. so the regulation is still in place and nurses are afraid to fight back fearing retaliation.
I have called and written the American Nurses' Association and contacted elected state representatives that responded and said they would look into the matter, but they don't keep their word.
The board of nursing members make all the decisions, yet our citizens, the ones they claim to be protecting are not involved in voting these people in or out.
It's clear that these board members are sabotaging nurses' careers on a daily basis, yet there seems to be nothing anyone can do.
I don't like the feds being involved in state matters, but I think there should be a voting process for board members, so members of the public can get these self-elected nut-cases out of control when they are ruining the lives of nurses. They face no consequences for their poor decisions that negatively affect nurses every day!