Receiving notification of a complaint or investigation from the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) can be a scary development for any nurse. If a complaint is filed against a nurse an investigation will be initiated by the Board in order to determine whether the claim has merit. The Investigator will send a letter and questionnaire to the nurse seeking additional information regarding the circumstances behind the complaint. Do not answer without seeking legal counsel.
An attorney can help you write a well-reasoned response that describes, in the most favorable way, the circumstances behind the complained of behavior. A complaint can lead to disciplinary action, probation, suspension or revocation of a nursing license, thus, a nurse must take the complaint very seriously. Below is a general time-line regarding the first stage of an Arizona Board of Nursing Complaint:
- A Complaint/Self-Report is filed with the Arizona Board of Nursing
- The Board determines if they have jurisdiction over the complaint
- If the Board has jurisdiction, the nurse is given a status of “Complaint/Self Report” on the verification section of the website
- An Investigator is assigned and a case number is give
- A complaint involving a patient care issue will be assigned to a Nurse Practice Consultant and a complaint involving criminal conduct will likely be assigned to a Senior Investigator
- The Investigator sends a notification letter and questionnaire to the nurse and the investigation begins
- The nurse is given time (generally 14-30 days) to respond with information regarding the events behind the complaint.
We strongly advises that any nurse seek legal counsel prior to responding to any Arizona Board of Nursing investigation or questionnaire. This includes speaking on the phone with an Investigator or submitting any written response. Retaining legal counsel prior to communicating with Board staff in any way gives you the best chance of mitigating the disciplinary action from the Board.
Here are some tips in regards to a licensing board complaint:
- Politely refuse to speak to any representative from the board asking you questions regarding the complaint. State that your attorney has instructed you not to speak to any representative from the Board they should contact your attorney.
- Do not discuss the events surrounding the complaint with co-workers or the administration of your facility.
- Document the events surrounding the complaint in detail. Your memory will degrade over time, so make certain to list dates, times, names and events around the event as soon as possible.
- Any witnesses familiar with the incident that are willing to testify on your behalf should write down their recollection of the events in an affidavit (a sworn statement).
Any nurse who has received notification that a complaint has been filed on them should contact an experienced and qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. Working with an attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected and that the Board receives your side of the story. If you have received a notice, contact Chelle & Zoldan today to schedule a consultation.