Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession (4)10 Jul 96  PDF Version

   Although two nurses testified they believed the nurse had tampered with medications and diverted narcotics, the board felt the charges could not be proven conclusively. The emergency suspension of the nurse’s license was ruled improper and was revoked retroactively, effectively restoring the nurse to full professional standing.

   Based solely upon the sworn affidavit of the director of nursing at the hospital where a nurse was employed, a nurse’s license was suspended on an emergency basis by the state board of nursing. The affidavit set forth the nursing director’s opinion that the nurse in question had tampered with medications and diverted narcotics to her own use. The board of nursing ordered that the nurse see a physician of its choice for a complete addictionology assessment.

   The nurse complied with the board’s order and saw the physician. His report, however, concluded there were no subjective or objective findings to substantiate that the nurse was a drug abuser or drug-dependent person. The board of nursing ordered a hearing to consider the physician’s report, and to hear testimony from other nurses at the hospital, on the issue of whether the nurse in question was guilty of tampering and/or diversion, and to decide whether her license suspension should continue.

   The nurse filed a request to have the administrative record amended to reflect that the board was ruling that she had not tampered with medications or diverted narcotics, not simply that the charges against her had not been proven. However, because she waited more than thirty days to file this request, it was denied by the Court of Appeals of Indiana. Bowman vs. State Board of Nursing, 663 N.E. 2d 1217 (Ind. App., 1996).