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The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) is the government agency that has jurisdiction to hear and decide administrative cases involving RN or LVN nurses. The Board has the power to reprimand the nurses for any violation of the administrative rules and regulations that every nurse is bound to follow. Aside from this, it also has the power to order the suspension or cancellation and revocation of a nursing license.

In exercising the inherent powers of the Texas Board of Nursing (BON), it is important that it observes substantive and procedural due process. Every nurse who has a pending case with the Board must be given the right to be notified of the charges against him as well as the right to be heard. Another right available to him to the right to be represented by a counsel. Unfortunately, many nurses waive their right to a lawyer. Because of this, they are often placed in the losing end.

Take for example the case of Amor who is a vocational nurse in Texas. Right after she passed the Board, she immediately worked at a home health facility. By the nature of her work, she is ordered to go to a patient’s house to attend to the medical needs of the latter. However, in one instance, the LVN nurse was caught in the act of drinking alcohol while on duty.

The LVN nurse Amor engaged in the intemperate use of alcohol in that she produced a specimen for a drug screen that resulted positive for alcohol. The use of alcohol by a LVN nurse is a clear violation of the Texas Administrative Code. The presence of alcohol in a vocational nurse’s body can prevent her from making rational, accurate, and appropriate assessment, judgments, and decisions regarding patient care, thereby placing the patient in potential danger.

Texas Administrative Code:

Sec. 301.452. Grounds for Disciplinary Action.

(a)In this section, intemperate use includes practicing nursing or being on duty or on call while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

(b) A person is subject to denial of a license or to disciplinary action under this subchapter for:

(1) a violation of this chapter, a rule or regulation not inconsistent with this chapter, or an order issued under this chapter;

(2) fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure a license to practice professional nursing or vocational nursing;

(3) a conviction for, or placement on deferred adjudication community supervision or deferred disposition for, a felony or for a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

(4) conduct that results in the revocation of probation imposed because of conviction for a felony or for a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

(5) use of a nursing license, diploma, or permit, or the transcript of such a document, that has been fraudulently purchased, issued, counterfeited, or materially altered;

(6) impersonating or acting as a proxy for another person in the licensing examination required under Section 301.253 or 301.255;

(7) directly or indirectly aiding or abetting an unlicensed person in connection with the unauthorized practice of nursing;

(8) revocation, suspension, or denial of, or any other action relating to, the person’s license or privilege to practice nursing in another jurisdiction or under federal law;

(9) intemperate use of alcohol or drugs that the board determines endangers or could endanger a patient;

(10) unprofessional conduct in the practice of nursing that is likely to deceive, defraud, or injure a patient or the public;

(11) adjudication of mental incompetency;

(12) lack of fitness to practice because of a mental or physical health condition that could result in injury to a patient or the public; or

(13) failure to care adequately for a patient or to conform to the minimum standards of acceptable nursing practice in a manner that, in the board’s opinion, exposes a patient or other person unnecessarily to risk of harm.

Eventually, a case was filed against her before the Texas Board of Nursing (BON). Instead of actively participating in the hearing of the case, the vocational nurse chose to waive his right to a counsel. She did not present any evidence to help her defend her case. The Board declared her guilty for the offense charge. As such, she was suspended from the practice of the nursing profession. Moreover, the Board ordered her to undergo probation.

Consult with Texas nurse attorney Yong J. An today if you have any questions about your response letter or the disciplinary process by calling or texting him at (832) 428-5679 day, night or weekends.