Nevada State Board of Nursing’s position statements on nurse shortage/staffing issues, The

Nevada State Board of Nursing’s position statements on nurse shortage/staffing issues, The

Scott, Debra

* Regarding mandatory overtime, the Board supports the August 2001 resolution by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing: NCSBN promotes safe and effective nursing practice in the interest of protecting public health and welfare. Therefore, National Council recognizes the professional responsibility of nurses to accept or decline overtime assignments based on their self-assessment of ability to provide safe care.

* The Nevada State Board of Nursing supports staffing based on acuity as determined by RN assessment and currently does not support numerical nurse to patient ratios. In the opinion of the Board, nurse staffing is best based on a multitude of factors, not solely on a numerical ratio.

* The Board is continually evaluating new research data, and considers such data in relation to the development of Board positions on nursing issues such as nurse staffing.

* The Board continually conducts education efforts about how to report staffing concerns and how to refuse unsafe assignments in accordance with the Nurse Practice Act.

* The Board has never disciplined a nurse or nursing assistant for mistakes made solely due to working in an understaffed environment. When conducting investigations, the Board considers each case on an individual basis and always takes staffing into consideration as a mitigating or aggravating condition.

How the Nursing Board handles staffing complaints

The Board of Health has regulatory jurisdiction over the manner in which health care facilities handle nurse staffing patterns. The Board of Nursing has regulatory jurisdiction over individual nurses.

Therefore, if a complaint is filed against a nurse alleging the nurse instituted unsafe staffing patterns, the nursing board would bring the matter to the attention of the Bureau of Licensure and Certification and ask them to investigate if it violated their regulations.

If their investigation found a violation, the nursing board could then charge the nurse with unprofessional conduct under its statute NRS 632.320(7) and its regulation NAC 632.890(30)(b).

This jurisdiction-based process makes sense when you look at resources and expertise. The Bureau of Licensure and Certification is staffed to survey and respond to complaints regarding health care facilities as a whole; the Board of Nursing is staffed to respond to complaints regarding individual nurses.

Presentation by Debra Scott, MSN,RN

Executive Director, Nevada State Board of Nursing

Copyright Nevada Nurses Association Nov 2003

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