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December 2012, Volume 42 Number 12 , p 13 - 15


  • Penny Simpson Brooke JD, MS, APRN


If a nurse has been disciplined in some way by the state board of nursing but didn't have his or her licensure revoked, is the record ever cleared once the fine is paid or the probationary period is over (or whatever the disciplinary action required)? Or does that blemish stay on the nurse's record forever?-M.P., ARK.State boards of nursing comply with the rules, regulations, and laws of their own state. Because these boards have discretionary authority, a nurse would need to ask the state board involved in his or her case how long records are retained and if records are expunged after a certain period.However, state licensure boards are also required to report any adverse licensure action-including revocation, suspension, reprimand, censure, and probation-to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). The NPDB was created to prevent nurses and other healthcare professionals from concealing past professional malpractice and disciplinary histories from potential employers.Nurses are very mobile throughout our country and internationally. Employers can better ensure quality control and patient safety by finding out as much as possible about a potential employee, including any past patterns of risky behavior, before deciding whether to hire that nurse. When a nurse applies for a job, the hospital must look up that nurse in the NPDB. Hospitals also must follow up by requesting updates on the nurse every 2 years from the NPDB.When I was named as a defendant in a lawsuit, I discovered to my horror that the insurance policy through my employer had been canceled because of some breach on my employer's part. Now the insurer is saying that they'll provide me with a defense attorney, but they won't pay any damages that may be awarded to the patient. Do I have any legal recourse here, since I wasn't made aware of the canceled policy until it was too late? The policy wasn't canceled because of anything I did wrong.-T.O., TEX.If you hold insurance through your employer, and you and

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