A few weeks back….I was threatened by the Arizona Board of Nursing with a Class 6 felony for being an RN imposter by not updating two spots on my Linked In “Past Work History” section. But what started it was a Nursing Professor from Scottsdale Community College who, per her Linked In Profile at the time, listed the Arizona Board of Nursing as one of her current (and longtime) employers. After getting together with an attorney very familiar with the Board, we put our heads together and realized the Professor was NOT on the AZBON’s roster of employees or members. As if that were not enough, I did a little research of my own and found that this particular Nursing Professor was a Nurse Practitioner and Legal Nurse Consultant who was advertising herself as an “MD” on a physician website designed to “Rate your Doctor.” On the site, the “MD” and the “Doctor *****” were in big bold lettering. A patient perusing through this site would have had a difficult time figuring out if this individual was a Nurse Practitioner or indeed a Doctor. Before those of you go into troubleshooting mode—-No, the Professor did not have a Doctorate Degree or otherwise.
Since this NURSING PROFESSOR gifted me with the courtesy of FREE PR and FREE ADVERTISING for my chosen Social Media platform(s)via my name being prominently displayed at the very top of the Nurse Imposter List (Yes, folks, I’ve got VIP front page billing!) as the ONLY Nurse Imposter for 2014, I thought I would share the joy by reporting her to the Arizona Medical Board for posing as a Doctor/MD and misrepresenting herself to the public at large. I even did one better, just to prove a point. I emailed the Arizona Board of Nursing’s Executive Director Joey Ridenour to inform her that the Board’s “Informant” was herself posing as an MD when her credentials were that of a Nurse Practitioner.
I figured since we got all “TECHY” in my case, and we were all about the semantics, the fine print, and all the “legal mumbo jumbo”– the same rules should apply to a Scottsdale Community College NURSING PROFESSOR who is SUPPOSED TO BE setting an example for the future of our profession, rather than using her “knowledge” to try setting up another nurse for a Class 6 Felony. I mean, is it not enough that my nursing license is gone? I suppose it wasn’t enough punishment for her.
Though the timeline of events (as I previously blogged them) certainly does suggest that the AZBON and the NURSING PROFESSOR have professional/personal ties and had this pretty well thought out…..They didn’t factor in “human error”….because someone made a little boo-boo and emailed me a copy of the State Board of Nursing’s “evidence” against me, which of course, I picked apart with a little bright light and a magnifying glass.
Now! We get to the part that has sadly become all too predictable, though, certainly not surprising. I wondered if Executive Director Joey Ridenour would actually investigate the allegation and evidence I sent her that CLEARLY depicted a Nurse Practitioner advertising herself as a Physician and BREAKING THE STATE NURSE PRACTICE ACT. She did not. I sent her an email with everything she needed to know. No response. No complaint was placed against the NURSING PROFESSOR’S license, no “Pending Investigation” tag was placed on HER License. So, I went to the Arizona Medical Board and gave them my evidence. The website she was advertising herself on was altered shortly after my report and any indication that the Nurse Practitioner was a licensed Physician was taken down. Chalk one up for the Arizona Medical Board, since they failed to discipline Dr. Keng Yu Chuang for stripping all the patient education from a vulnerable patient’s hospital room and intimidating them into further treatment they told me they did not want. I’m working on my THIRD complaint against him, and Frank Fausto of Banner Del E Webb now. (I will keep doing so until he comes clean and admits to the Board his dishonesty in lying during my case or admits it to me and apologizes) But that is for the next blog titled “dying with dignity, without a Doctor’s Order.”
What has me perplexed is why it’s okay for a Nurse Practitioner to advertise themselves as a licensed Physician, but it IS NOT OKAY for me to have failed to update two TINY SPOTS on my work history—an honest oversight. Why is it the NURSING PROFESSOR, gets to break State Statutes and the Nurse Practice Act and receive absolutely NO DISCIPLINE, and I get placed at the TOP of the “Imposter List?” Again, I’m no longer upset about it since I have been getting FREE advertising. My new imposter status has helped me make more connections on social media, politically, and with healthcare consumers throughout the valley than any other stunt the AZBON has pulled so I really should be thanking them…….If I could only swallow down the urge to puke at the thought of it….
If this were the only situation in which the Arizona Board of Nursing chose to look “over there” for “just a sec” on some things, while having tunnel vision on other things it wouldn’t be so disturbing. As I have highlighted before in previous blogs, nurses can get DUI’s, repeat DUI’s, extreme DUI’s with arrests—and receive nothing more than a mere “Letter of No Concern” in their nursing file, which is not publicized. This means if you looked up the nurse’s name, you would not see any complaints filed against his/her license because the charges were kept “private from the public.” You can also be a party in a sentinel event in which a death resulted and not be ordered to take skills remediation courses….instead, for your convenience, all that will be issued is a “Letter of No Concern.”
Let me clarify something, unless a gross intentional offense that harms another patient takes place I staunchly oppose heavy handed discipline that takes any decent hearted nurse out of the profession and away from doing what he/she has spent years studying to do and loves to do. There is a quote by Virginia Henderson, Nurse theorist that addresses that very sentiment….I read it every day. I am pro education as a means of preventing further nursing care errors. Skills review, precepting, dialoguing, engaging in activities similar to those in the last few semesters of nursing school….those are the kinds of things that improve a nurse’s awareness and skillset. NOT 8 YEARS OF STACKED PROBATION WITH IMPOSSIBLE TERMS THAT LEAD A NURSE TO DRINK, DO DRUGS, SUCCOMB TO SUBSTANCE TO SELF MEDICATE, AND EVENTUALLY KILLING THEMSELVES AFTER THE LOSS OF THEIR HOMES AND FAMILY STABILITY.
Heavy handed and cruel sentences do nothing to address the actual problem, it just hurts another life. Until the next nurse comes along and falls in the same hole making the same error…..Why not feature the nurse in the Regulatory Journal and have them write up their own case and discuss for nurses what could have been done better next time and a statement of reflection on how the incident has affected them and their practice as a nurse? I find these approaches much more humane, and productive and more likely to preserve a safer more robust nursing workforce. It also encourages health interaction among peers, and more learning takes place than fear. #Campaignforaction #futureofnursing #Toerrishuman #IOM
“If for too long we deprive a person of what he values most—love, approval, fruitful occupation, this condition of deprivation is often worse than the disease we are attempting to cure.”
~Nurse theorist Virginia Henderson
Recall that the Arizona Board of Nursing as an agency exists solely at the will of the Arizona State legislature via a Sunset Clause. The State Legislature and the State Auditor General have told the Arizona Board of Nursing that they must adhere to specific timeframes for investigations due to their consistently long investigation times, overuse of resources, and the constantly expanding list of resources that the agency is asking for every fiscal year. (I currently have all their financial records from 1981 to present and am in awe that the AZBON has gotten away with no thorough/complete financial audit all these years with the exception of one partial one) Pertaining to lengthy investigations–After doing some research I found one case that had started in 2009 that I blogged about recently and it didn’t resolve until a couple of months ago. I was also emailed about two nurses who worked at a valley hospital (2 years ago) that didn’t check a unit of blood like they were supposed to and a patient didn’t have a very good outcome. Though they were both fired and turned over to the AZBON, they never had their licenses updated on line to reflect that a complaint had been filed or that they were “under investigation.” Until now. In another case, a nurse wrote me to ask me what was so different about the time frame in which my license status was updated and how long it took for his license status to get updated (it still hasn’t been). He was charged and arrested and jailed for domestic violence—twice. Well over a year ago. He did not self-report as he was supposed to, and he is JUST NOW getting a letter from the Arizona Board of Nursing to inform him they found out about it. I recall my license status was updated within 48 hours of the AZBON getting the complaint from Banner Del Webb Hospital. On paper The AZBON makes everything look pretty so the Auditor General, the Ombudsmen’s Office, and the State Legislature can see that they are playing by the rules, Here are just some of the major issues that threaten the well-being of not just the public, but the health of the nursing workforce:
- More nurses than ever are getting DUI’s/impaired driving offenses
- There is no remediation for drinking and driving, no community service, or public speaking requirements
- No limitations on how long Directors can serve, they are not elected officials— and they should be. For obvious reasons.
- The Board Members are not currently practicing at the bedside, are not elected into the position, and are placed there by people in the Governor’s office who know nothing about the practice of nursing or what it takes to get through a 12 hour shift laced with crisis after crisis.
- Long investigation times persist, leaving a nurses life in limbo for the duration of an investigation.
- Focusing on the wrong nurses while letting the “dangerous ones” slip through the cracks places the public in danger
- Little to No oversight by the State Legislature. The Board writes insanely draconian rules that allow it more and more power and the Legislature—focused on gay marriage, immigration, Obamacare, who gets to use public bathrooms, who can or cannot own nun chucks in this state, CPS, and Education—pay no mind when the rules cross their desks, they just sign off on them not realizing what it is doing to the nurse workforce.
- Zero Use of the ARS/State Nurse Practice Act
- OVERUSE OF PERSONAL OPINION AND JUDGMENT AND NOT ENOUGH APPLICATION OF STATE LAW.
- OVERUSE OF STATE RESOURCES. (example: internet stalking nurses whose licenses you have already revoked or trying to get at nurses who post to my pages with negative opinions about the agency)
- Using “rubber stamp” Psych doctors like Dr. Phillip Lett who is an addictionologist, and spends less than 5 minutes with a nurse asking irrelevant questions which somehow culminates into a 40 page report that pretty much regurgitates the AZBON investigative report’s opinion of the nurse under investigation.
- Resistance to transparency.
- Labeling everyone as crazy or mentally disturbed (a classic gaslighting technique) so it takes the attention off of The Board and their actions or in many cases–lack thereof.
NEWSFLASH TO ARIZONA LEGISLATORS: Just because the word “Nursing” is in the name of the agency, it doesn’t mean that we are all on the same page. THEY are NOT a nurse’s buddy, advocate, BFF, or a nurse’s supporters. Their job is to take nurses off the streets, to take them out of the profession, which, affects YOUR FINANCIAL BOTTOM LINE AT THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR! How? We all end up on welfare, AHCCCS, and Foodstamps and YOU SUPPORT US, our families, AND OUR BASIC NEEDS, When we could be out there contributing to the economy and to our families on our own.
My advice to legislators—BEFORE YOU SIGN AWAY OUR LIVES during a particularly long day at the State Capitol, stop and think about the implications for the nursing workforce, and for the financial end of things. Will your signature help the nursing workforce? Are you signing a new “rule” that would potentially violate the rights of Arizona RN’s and unnecessarily yank them out of the profession at a time we need them THE MOST? Just what type of information are they subpoenaing? Are they getting information about nurses that is unnecessary and not pertinent to a case? I mean, I have heard that subpoenas are kind of expensive…and does the State Board of Nursing really have to know whether or not we have an STD or whether we are homosexual, or that we have had multiple partners when sexually active, or that we engage in what “they think” are risky behaviors?
Please remember nurses do not have any rights in the Administrative Law setting. And that Administrative Law is extremely tricky. CRIMINALS GET MORE RIGHTS AND CONCESSIONS THAN WE DO. Nurses do not get covered by HIPAA like everyone else. We are left wide open and vulnerable for any and all information about our mental health, physical health, and sexual health to become public information because it’s the “Board’s rule” to find it all out and make it public. This is where the INEQUITY CREEPS IN….
Who gets the axe and who doesn’t? These days, nursing in Arizona is like going on one of those television shows where people have to vote for you. Like Dancing With The Stars or American Idol. No one knows who will make the cut. Think about it, because that is the reality of Corporate Nursing. If you have not done so already, please make time to read Brave New World by Aldoux Huxley. You will be shocked at how closely our profession mimics portions of the book. The scary thing about our profession is that one day all can be well and beautiful, and the next day your life is forever changed.
You will never see it coming, believe me. The State Board of Nursing further complicates the current practice environment here in Arizona by being finicky about who it decides to discipline, let go, prosecute, or revoke. In the Outcomes I have published for the past ten years on my blog it is painfully clear that there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to how they discipline, or why they would discipline nurse A for something minor while giving a pat on the back to nurse B who just got her tenth DUI in the past few months with a “Merry Christmas and good luck to you!”
Truthfully, that is what happens here. That is the reality. I mean, thanks for the FREE PR and all, but honestly—at the end of the day, I wasn’t the one “playing Doctor.” Perhaps ya’ll might want to actually re read the Nurse Practice Act, and actually use it, apply it… I don’t know—-somewhat fairly?
Seriously I know it’s a new concept. But give it a try…your next audit will be here before you know it. And I’ll be at the Auditor General’s Office front and center with every bit of research I can provide as a concerned taxpayer, healthcare consumer, patient advocate as well as a nursing advocate for my peers.
Someone has to look out for nurse and patient safety in Arizona.
I have the degrees, the experience and a widened understanding of the healthcare system—its history and current challenges.
Why on earth would I walk away knowing there is so much more I can do to empower patients and nurses during one of the most turbulent times in our profession’s history?