Felony Conviction Bar for Arizona Nurses

The number of applicants in Arizona that applied for nursing licenses or certificates between 1995 and 2008 increased by 1400%. The sheer volume of nursing applicants caused the Arizona Legislature to take action and create Senate Bill 1096 (“SB1096”) that bars nursing applicants from certification and licensure if they have prior felony convictions. However, the felony bar is lifted five years after their felony sentencing has been completed successfully.

Through this bill, the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) may initiate disciplinary proceedings to revoke their application, renewal or reactivation against nurses who failed to disclose a felony conviction. SB1096 also give the Department of Public Safety the right to finger print nurses in order to obtain any state or federal criminal history on the person. The reasoning behind a five year bar from nursing is to allow the individual enough time to prove they are safe to practice, in addition to, handling restitution issues with their victim(s) resulting from their felony conviction.

In 2010 the state of Arizona made a slight change to SB1096 and Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) § 13-604(A). The change allows the Board to treat an undesignated offense that occurs/occurred after 23 July 2010 as a felony until the court actually enters an order designating the offense a misdemeanor.

If you have questions regarding how a past or present felony conviction can affect your status with the Arizona Board of Nursing contact us today.

Arizona Board of Nursing DUI

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An Arizona nurse who is charged with a DUI not only has to worry about the criminal consequences, but the professional repercussions with the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) as well.  Arizona law holds that any health professional who has been charged with a misdemeanor involving conduct that may affect patient safety (this includes a DUI) must notify their licensing board in writing within 10 business days after the charge is filed.

Being charged with a crime means that a police officer has issued an arrest or citation and has sent copies of their report to the prosecutor’s office for review.    Failure to report the criminal charge within 10 business days will result in an act of unprofessional conduct and the Board may impose a fine in addition to disciplinary action.  Many professionals are given bad advice from their criminal defense attorney and are told they only have to report a conviction.  This is not true.

Here are some common questions professionals have regarding reporting a DUI charge to a licensing board:

Q: If you have been charged with a DUI, what is the best way to inform your Board?

A: Contact me (an attorney) within 10 days of you being charged with a DUI and I can assist in drafting a response.

Q: What happens once I report the charge to the Board?

A: The Board will initiate an investigation and you will eventually have to go in front of the Board.

Q: What will the investigator look at?

A: Many things:

  • What your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was.
  • If you are charged with an Extreme DUI, it is likely that the Board will order an addiction evaluation.
  • How many prior DUI convictions you have had.
  • Whether you have a history of substance abuse.
  • Do you have a record of substance abuse with your past employers.

Being charged with a DUI is an offense that every nurse should take seriously.  The best advice I can give is to contact me immediately.  Losing your driver’s license is one thing, but losing your professional license is something that must be avoided at all costs.

If you have been charged with a DUI and are concerned about the repercussions it will have with the Arizona Board of Nursing contact Arizona Attorney Robert Chelle.

Arizona Board of Nursing Acts of Unprofessional Conduct

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The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) specifically designates a number of acts that are considered unprofessional conduct. If the Board determines that a licensed or certified nurse has committed an act of unprofessional conduct the Board may impose disciplinary action. The disciplinary action can include probation, suspension or revocation of a nurse’s license or certificate. The laws specifically state that the acts leading to a finding of unprofessional conduct do not have to occur in Arizona, they can occur anywhere else.

Some of the acts of unprofessional conduct include (this is not an all-inclusive list):

  • Committing a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
  • Any conduct that is harmful to the health of a patient or the public.
  • Having a license or certificate denied, suspended, limited or revoked in another jurisdiction and not reinstated by that jurisdiction.
  • Failing to comply with a board order.
  • Failing to self-report a conviction for a felony or undesignated offense within ten days after the conviction.
  • Cheating on a licensure or certification examination.

There are some very specific reporting rules regarding self-reporting criminal charges to the Board.  Be aware that you must report most criminal charges to the Board within 10 days or you will likely be disciplined A licensed or certified nurse is held to a higher standard with regards to conduct and it is imperative that you don’t risk your license for simply failing to report an act to the Board.

If you have any questions regarding what act the Arizona Board of Nursing considers unprofessional conduct contact Attorney Robert Chelle.

Arizona Board of Nursing Criminal Reporting Requirements

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Arizona law states that any licensed or certified nurse who has been charged with a misdemeanor involving conduct that may affect patient safety must notify the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) in writing within 10 business days after the charge is filed. Being charged with a crime means that a police officer has issued an arrest or citation and has sent copies of their report to the prosecutor’s office for review. Failure to report the criminal charge within 10 business days will result in an act of unprofessional conduct and the Board may impose a fine in addition to disciplinary action.

Arizona has released a list of misdemeanor offenses that have been determined to affect patient safety and are required to be reported to the Board. A licensee or applicant to the Arizona Board of Nursing must report the following charges involving (this is not an all-inclusive list):

  • Shoplifting
  • Contributing to delinquency
  • Harassment
  • Possession with intent to use a controlled substance
  • Misconduct involving weapons
  • Solicitation

There are a large number of crimes that must be reported to the Board if a nurse has been charged. However, most licensed or certified nurses tend to conceal the charge rather than self-report. Unfortunately, if the Board does find out, not only will the nurse face discipline if ultimately convicted of the charge, but they will also receive discipline for concealing the charge as well. Remember, a charge is not a conviction and it is better to reveal the charge at the beginning rather than face a sanction from the Board for failure to disclose.

If you have failed to report a criminal charge to the Arizona Board of Nursing or have an investigation pending against you, contact Chelle Law.

Arizona Board of Nursing Charge Questionnaire

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The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) licenses, certifies, investigates and disciplines all licensed or certified nurses practicing in Arizona.  The Board can initiate an investigation during the following situations:

  • During the application process
  • If the nurse self-reports a violation
  • When a complaint is filed against the nurse

Any time the Board proceeds with an investigation into a possible act of unprofessional conduct by a nurse, the investigator will send the nurse a Questionnaire.  There are different types of Questionnaires that the Board will request the nurse to fill out.

This post will examine the Charge Questionnaire sent to the nurse during an investigation involving possible or past criminal activity of the nurse.  If the nurse was involved in an incident that resulted in a number of different charges/convictions the nurse will have to fill out a different Questionnaire for each offense.

The Questionnaire will ask for the details of the incident, in addition to, all relevant police and court documents.  It is important to keep detailed records of all documents associated with criminal conduct.  Attempting to track down a voluminous amount of documents from different municipalities can take weeks and the nurse generally has 30 days to return the Questionnaire if the nurse doesn’t request additional time.

The Charge Questionnaire will also ask for a list of all of your employers over the last five years (including current contact information).

Receiving a Questionnaire can be a scary thing for any nurse, but it is important that you seek an attorney prior to responding to any request for information from the Board.  A lawyer experienced in dealing with Board investigations can help you prepare a proper and thorough response.

If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing questionnaire please contact Attorney Robert Chelle.

Arizona Board of Nursing Citation Questionnaire

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The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) licenses, certifies, investigates and disciplines all licensed or certified nurses practicing in Arizona.  The Board can initiate an investigation during the following situations:

  • During the application process
  • If the nurse self-reports a violation
  • When a complaint is filed against the nurse

Any time the Board proceeds with an investigation into a possible act of unprofessional conduct by a nurse, the investigator will send the nurse a Questionnaire.  There are different types of Questionnaires that the Board will request the nurse to fill out.

This post will examine the Citation Questionnaire sent to the nurse during an investigation involving possible or past criminal activity of the nurse.  If the nurse was involved in an incident that resulted in a number of different charges/convictions the nurse will have to fill out a different Questionnaire for each offense.

The Questionnaire will ask for the details of the incident, in addition to, all relevant police and court documents.  It is important to keep detailed records of all documents associated with criminal conduct.  Attempting to track down a voluminous amount of documents from different municipalities can take weeks and the nurse generally has 30 days to return the Questionnaire if the nurse doesn’t request additional time.

The Citation Questionnaire will also ask for a list of all of your employers over the last five years (including current contact information).

Receiving a Questionnaire can be a scary thing for any nurse, but it is important that you seek an attorney prior to responding to any request for information from the Board.  A lawyer experienced in dealing with Board investigations can help you prepare a proper and thorough response.

If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing Questionnaire please contact Attorney Robert Chelle.

Arizona Board of Nursing Arrest Questionnaire

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The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) licenses, certifies, investigates and disciplines all licensed or certified nurses practicing in Arizona.  The Board can initiate an investigation during the following situations:

  • During the application process
  • If the nurse self-reports a violation
  • When a complaint is filed against the nurse

Any time the Board proceeds with an investigation into a possible act of unprofessional conduct by a nurse, the investigator will send the nurse a Questionnaire.  There are different types of Questionnaires that the Board will request the nurse to fill out.

This post will examine the Arrest Questionnaire sent to the nurse during an investigation involving possible or past criminal activity of the nurse.  If the nurse was involved in an incident that resulted in a number of different charges/convictions the nurse will have to fill out a different Questionnaire for each offense.

The Questionnaire will ask for the details of the incident, in addition to, all relevant police and court documents.  It is important to keep detailed records of all documents associated with criminal conduct.  Attempting to track down a voluminous amount of documents from different municipalities can take weeks and the nurse generally has 30 days to return the Questionnaire if the nurse doesn’t request additional time.

The Arrest Questionnaire will also ask for a list of all of your employers over the last five years (including current contact information).

Receiving a Questionnaire can be a scary thing for any nurse, but it is important that you seek an attorney prior to responding to any request for information from the Board.  A lawyer experienced in dealing with Board investigations can help you prepare a proper and thorough response.

If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing Questionnaire please contact Attorney Robert Chelle.

Arizona Board of Nursing Questionnaire – Arrest/Citation/Charge

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The Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) licenses, certifies, investigates and disciplines all licensed or certified nurses practicing in Arizona.  The Board can initiate an investigation during the following situations:

  • During the application process
  • If the nurse self-reports a violation
  • When a complaint is filed against the nurse

Any time the Board proceeds with an investigation into a possible act of unprofessional conduct by a nurse, the investigator will send the nurse a Questionnaire.  There are different types of Questionnaires that the Board will request the nurse to fill out.

This post will examine the Arrest/Citation/Charge Questionnaire sent to the nurse during an investigation involving possible or past criminal activity of the nurse.  If the nurse was involved in an incident that resulted in a number of different charges/convictions the nurse will have to fill out a different Questionnaire for each offense.

The Questionnaire will ask for the details of the incident, in addition to, all relevant police and court documents.  It is important to keep detailed records of all documents associated with criminal conduct.  Attempting to track down a voluminous amount of documents from different municipalities can take weeks and the nurse generally has 30 days to return the Questionnaire if the nurse doesn’t request additional time.

The Arrest/Citation/Charge Questionnaire will also ask for a list of all of your employers over the last five years (including current contact information).

Receiving a Questionnaire can be a scary thing for any nurse, but it is important that you seek an attorney prior to responding to any request for information from the Board.  A lawyer experienced in dealing with Board investigations can help you prepare a proper and thorough response.

If you have any questions about an Arizona Board of Nursing questionnaire please contact Attorney Robert Chelle.

Arizona Board of Nursing Continuing Education Requirements

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Currently, the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) does not require continuing education for licensed practical and registered nurses.  However, attempts are being made by Arizona legislators to mandate 20 hours of continuing education per year for each licensed RN and LPN.  Over 30 states currently require some kind of continuing education for licensed nurses.  The goal of continuing education is to enhance the professional competence of the provider with the hope of improved health care.

Arizona does require that any licensed RN or LPN complete 960 hours of practice in a 5 year period to renew or obtain licensure.  The Board has stated that the following activities constitute practice:

  • Teaching nursing
  • Supervising care
  • Consulting
  • Clinical experience
  • Volunteering with a nursing organization
  • Health screenings
  • Caring for family members does not qualify as practice

New graduates must be licensed within 2 years of graduation or they must complete a refresher course once NCLEX has been passed.

If you have a question about practice requirements for nurses in Arizona contact Attorney Robert Chelle.

Nursing Shortage in Western States Likely to Increase

I read an article about how California is in dire need of nurses and will continue to fall behind national staffing averages in the next few years.  Click Here to read the article.  The article sites the lack of qualified teachers willing to teach nursing classes as a main culprit behind the nursing shortage.  The lack of educators is definitely a contributing factor, however, even in these difficult economic times I believe something deeper exists.

Insufficient staffing levels have further increased the stressful nature of being a nurse.  Increased stress leads to job dissatisfaction and in turn drives many to leave the profession or not enter it in the first place.  Nurses have an incredibly difficult job that at times can test the patience of even the most level headed provider.

There is no coincidence that many nurses are disciplined by their licensing Board for substance abuse issues.  The high stress nature of the job along with clear access to pharmaceuticals leads to countless substance abuse problems.

The nursing shortage is obviously a vicious cycle.  Low staffing levels lead to higher stressed nurses that leave the profession and create more staffing shortages.  There is no clear solution, but the demand for nurses is only going to increase as the population continues to age.

If you have a question about nursing contact Arizona Attorney Robert Chelle.