New research in AJN shows link between nurse's criminal history and professional misconduct

March 03, 2009

New York, NY (March 3, 2009) - A study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Nursing (AJN) found that almost 40% of nurses who were on probation for professional misconduct in 2001 committed another act of misconduct between 2001 and 2005. Nurses on probation who had a history of criminal conviction were more likely to recidivate, suggesting that licensing boards should carefully screen and monitor nurses with a criminal background. The study was conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). AJN, the leading voice of nursing since 1900, is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry.

"We hope that the study's findings will be used to help shape regulatory policies and develop disciplinary programs targeted to individual nurses," said Elizabeth H. Zhong, PhD, research associate, National Council of State Boards of Nursing in Chicago and an author of the study. "Our hope is that further quantitative research of professional disciplinary action will lead to more effective remediation programs to protect public health and safety."

According to the study, the recidivism rate among those with a history of criminal conviction (56%; 22 of 39 nurses) was nearly twice as high as the rate among those without such a history (33%; 24 of 73). Thirty-three percent of the disciplined nurses changed employers during their probation; the recidivism rate among them was more than twice the rate among the disciplined nurses who stayed with the same employer.

The proportion of men who had been disciplined was more than twice the proportion of men in the national nursing workforce, and younger nurses (both men and women) were also more likely to recidivate: among those who were younger than 40, 49% recidivated, while 34% of those who were 40 years old or older.

Protecting the public from incompetent or otherwise unsafe nursing practice is a responsibility of state boards of nursing. Boards of nursing can place nurses who have committed practice-related violations on probation, limiting their practice to particular settings or placing them under certain conditions for a specified time. The state boards also aim to help nurses who have been disciplined return to nursing practice through remediation.

While the number and percentage of nurses sanctioned by state boards of nursing has risen in the last decade, there have been few nationwide studies about the characteristics of nurses who have been disciplined, outcomes of remediation or the putative risk factors for violation and recidivism.

In 2006, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), working with six state nursing boards, (Arizona, Marlyand, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Carolina) initiated an exploratory study to evaluate the characteristics of nurses who had been disciplined and the factors that might affect the outcomes of remediation.

A 29-item questionnaire was used to investigate the records of 207 RNs, LPNs, and advanced practice RNs (APRNs) who were disciplined and put on probation by a state nursing board in 2001 as well as to collect data on their employment settings, the boards' actions and remediation outcomes (the presence or absence of recidivism); 491 nurses who had not been disciplined served as controls.

Among the disciplined nurses studied, 57% were RNs, 36% were LPNs, 3% held both RN and LPN licenses and 3% were APRNs. Data on history of criminal conviction prior to state board disciplinary action were available for 112 (54%) of the 207 nurses. Among those 112, 35% (n=39) had a history of criminal conviction, whereas only 3% of the control group reported one.

"This is a very complex issue and more work still needs to be done to study this problem," said Diana Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN and editor-in-chief of AJN. "We need to build a system of evidence-based nationwide policies and procedures that will ensure that licensure boards are able to protect the public in consistent, accountable ways. Through this study, the National Council of State Boards for Nursing has provided evidence that can contribute to such an achievement."
-end-
About American Journal of Nursing

The American Journal of Nursing (AJN) is the leading voice of nursing and the most established nursing journal in the world, since 1900. It is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (www.LWW.com) a leading international publisher for healthcare professionals and students with nearly 300 periodicals and 1,500 books in more than 100 disciplines publishing under the LWW brand, as well as content-based sites and online corporate and customer services. LWW is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry.

Wolters Kluwer Health is a division of Wolters Kluwer, a leading global information services and publishing company with annual revenues (2007) of €3.4 billion ($4.8 billion), maintains operations in over 33 countries across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific and employs approximately 19,500 people worldwide. Visit www.wolterskluwer.com for information about our market positions, customers, brands, and organization.

American Journal of Nursing

Related Nurses Articles from Brightsurf:

Nurses burned out and want to quit
A survey of nurses caring for children with heart problems has revealed that more than half are emotionally exhausted.

Work-related PTSD in nurses
A recent Journal of Clinical Nursing analysis of published studies examined the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among nurses and identified factors associated with work-related PTSD among nurses.

PA school nurses on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic
As opioid overdoses continue to grab headlines, more states are providing their communities with easier access to naloxone, which can prevent death by reversing opioid overdoses.

Paying attention to complaints can protect nurses from violence
New UBC research shows, for the first time, a clear link between patient complaints and violence towards nurses.

Social networking sites affect nurses' performance
Addiction to social networking sites reduces nurses' performance and affects their ability to concentrate on assigned tasks, according to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Are american nurses prepared for a catastrophe? New study says perhaps not
On average, American colleges and universities with nursing programs offer about one hour of instruction in handling catastrophic situations such as nuclear events, pandemics, or water contamination crises, according to two recent studies coauthored by a nursing professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Gender bias continues in recognition of physicians and nurses
A new study has shown that patients are significantly more likely to correctly identify male physicians and female nurses, demonstrating continuing gender bias in the health care environment.

How nurses bring clarity to the nature of social change
History provides an enhanced understanding of the factors that inform social policy.

When tempers flare, nurses' injuries could rise
A new study by researchers at Michigan State University and Portland State University has found that when there's an imbalance in support among nurses at work, tempers flare and risk of injuries can go up.

New nurses work overtime, long shifts, and sometimes a second job
New nurses are predominantly working 12-hour shifts and nearly half work overtime, trends that have remained relatively stable over the past decade, finds a new study by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

Read More: Nurses News and Nurses Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.