There are many possible grounds for which disciplinary action may be initiated against a nurse in Florida. It is important to be familiar with these so that you can avoid them.
You should review and be very familiar with all of the Florida laws and the Florida Board of Nursing’s Rules that appear in the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). These may all be accesses through the Florida Board of Nursing’s website: www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/nursing/. Look for the menu item “Laws and Rules” and click on this.
The laws which set forth various grounds for discipline include:
Chapter 456, Florida Statutes (which applies to all licensed health professionals).
Chapter 464, Florida Statutes (the Nurse Practice Act).
Chapter 64B9, Florida Administrative Code (Rules adopted by the Board of Nursing).
Basically, a nurse may be disciplined for any violation of the Nurse Practice Act, for any violation of Chapter 456, Florida Statutes, for violation of any Rule of the Board of Nursing (Chapter 64B9, F.A.C.), for violation of any law applicable to nurses or nursing, or for violation of any final order of the Board of Nursing or Department of Health. The most ambiguous of these tends to be actions of the nurse which fail to meet “minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing nursing practice” (sometimes called “falling below the standard of nursing practice” or “substandard performance”), as stated in Section 464.018, Florida Statutes.
Acts that Result in Disciplinary Action Against a Nursing License
Disciplinary action may be taken against the nurse’s license, through administrative proceedings, under the following circumstances, as provided by Section 464.018, Florida Statutes:
1. Procuring, attempting to procure, or renewing a license to practice nursing by bribery, by knowing misrepresentations, or through an error of the department or the board;
2. Having a license to practice nursing revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of another state, territory, or country;
3. Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of nursing or to the ability to practice nursing;
4. Being found guilty, regardless of adjudication, of any of the following offenses:
- A forcible felony as defined in Chapter 776, Florida Statutes;
- A violation of Chapter 812, Florida Statutes, relating to theft, robbery, and related crimes;
- A violation of Chapter 817, relating to fraudulent practices;
- A violation of Chapter 800, relating to lewdness and indecent exposure;
- A violation of Chapter 784, Florida Statutes, relating to assault, battery, and culpable negligence;
- A violation of Chapter 827, Florida Statutes, relating to child abuse;
- A violation of Chapter 415, Florida Statutes, relating to protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and
- A violation of Chapter 39, Florida Statutes, relating to child abuse, abandonment, and neglect.
5. Having been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense prohibited under Section 435.03, Florida Statutes, or under any similar statute of another jurisdiction; or having committed an act which constitutes domestic violence as defined in Section 741.28, Florida Statutes;
6. Making or filing a false report or record, which the licensee knows to be false, intentionally or negligently failing to file a report or record required by state or federal law, willfully impeding or obstructing such filing or inducing another person to do so. Such reports or records shall include only those which are signed in the nurse’s capacity as a licensed nurse;
7. False, misleading, or deceptive advertising;
8. Unprofessional conduct, as defined by board rule;
9. Engaging or attempting to engage in the possession, sale, or distribution of controlled substances as set forth in chapter 893, for any other than legitimate purposes authorized by this part;
10. Being unable to practice nursing with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, or chemicals or any other type of material or as a result of any mental or physical condition;
11. Failing to report to the department any person who the licensee knows is in violation of this part or of the rules of the department or the board; however, if the licensee verifies that such person is actively participating in a board-approved program for the treatment of a physical or mental condition, the licensee is required to report such person only to an impaired professionals consultant;
12. Knowingly violating any provision of this part, a rule of the board or the department, or a lawful order of the board or department previously entered in a disciplinary proceeding or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of the department;
13. Failing to report to the department any licensee under Chapter 458 or under Chapter 459, Florida Statutes, who the nurse knows has violated the grounds for disciplinary action set out in the law under which that person is licensed and who provides health care services in a facility licensed under Chapter 395, Florida Statutes, or a health maintenance organization certificated under part I of Chapter 641, Florida Statutes, in which the nurse also provides services;
14. 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; and
15. Violating any provision of this Chapter or Chapter 456, Florida Statutes, or any rules adopted pursuant thereto.
Section 456.072, Florida Statutes, which applies to nurses and all other licensed health professionals, also provides a list of grounds for disciplinary action against a nurse’s license. This information can be found here.
Contact an Experienced Health Attorney Familiar with Nursing Law Issues
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm have experience in representing nurses in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing nurses, nurse practitioners, and CRNAs in investigations and at Board of Nursing hearings. Call us now at (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 or visit our website www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.