Violations of the Nurse Practice Act
It is the duty of the Florida Board of Nursing (FBON) to protect the public from unlawful, unqualified or unsafe licensees. Fines, restriction and revocation are among the tools the FBON has to discipline a licensee that has fallen below the minimal standards of nursing practice. The decision to discipline a licensee is informed by both statute and Florida Administrative Code (FAC).
Florida Chapter 456.079 requires all professional boards to adopt guidelines that impose a "meaningful range of penalties based upon the severity and repetition of specific offenses". Minor violations are to be distinguished from those that endanger the public health, safety, or welfare. Guidelines must provide reasonable and meaningful notice that the board will consistently apply penalties.
Florida Chapter 464.016 cites specific felony and misdemeanor violations associated with the unlicensed practice of nursing, impersonating a nurse or concealing or abetting such violations.
Florida Chapter 464.017 describes sexual misconduct in the practice of nursing. Sexual misconduct in the practice of nursing means violation of the nurse-patient relationship through which the nurse uses said relationship to induce or attempt to induce the patient to engage, or to engage or attempt to engage the patient, in sexual activity outside the scope of the practice or the scope of generally accepted examination or treatment of the patient. Sexual misconduct in the practice of nursing is prohibited.
FAC 64B9-8.001 describes steps to be taken when a complaint or violation is brought to the attention of the FBON. It requires a three-person panel to determined if probable cause exists to recommend: reprimand, citation, penalty, probation, suspension or revocation. The FBON has broad latitude to consider aggravating and mitigating factors. For example:
- Procuring, attempting to procure, or renewing a license to practice nursing by bribery, by knowing misrepresentations, or through an error of the department or board.
MINIMUM MAXIMUM FIRST OFFENSE $550 fine and probation $10,000 fine and revocation
- Being convicted of or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication of a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of nursing or to the ability to practice nursing.
MINIMUM MAXIMUM FIRST OFFENSE Reprimand denial of licensure or $500 fine and suspension to be followed by a term of probation SECOND OFFENSE $500 fine and probation denial of licensure or $1,000 fine and revocation
- Failing to meet minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing nursing practice, including engaging in acts for which the licensee is not qualified by training or experience, or practicing; or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting and performing professional responsibilities the licensee knows, or has reason to know, the licensee is not competent to perform.
MINIMUM MAXIMUM FIRST OFFENSE
Reprimand, $250 fine, and continuing education
- Failing to identify through written notice, which may include the wearing of a name tag, or orally to a patient the type of license under which the practitioner is practicing.
MINIMUM MAXIMUM FIRST OFFENSE Letter of concern Reprimand and $200 fine SECOND OFFENSE Reprimand and $500 fine $500 fine and probation
In addition, the board can recommend denial of licensure or impose penalties against any applicant for licensure or licensee violating any of the provisions in or 456.072. The board has the authority to deny reinstatement of the license of a nurse, or cause a license to be issued to a person it has deemed unqualified. The board will not reinstate the license of a nurse who has been found guilty by the board on three separate occasions relating to the use of drugs or narcotics involving the diversion of drugs or narcotics from patients to personal use or sale. Fines, periods and conditions of probation denial or reissuance of a license are determined by guidelines established by the board, in compliance with the law.