In an ongoing investigation, journalists Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein of ProPublica have a startling article out that says that more than 3,500 registered nurses with “clean” nursing licenses from the State of California have been punished for misconduct in other states. According to the article, approximately 2,000 of these nurses will now face discipline in California.
The article states that California officials won’t disclose the names of nurses who were discovered to have disciplinary records until charges are filed, but will be filing emergency petitions with the board for nurses who are viewed as a threat to public safety.
Weber and Ornstein easily uncovered cases involving current California nurses. Here’s a sampling:
• Marci Nablo surrendered her Florida nursing license in 2007 after she admitted stealing painkillers from patient pain pumps.
• Karen Vivian had her Nebraska license suspended in 2008 after she made nine medication errors, including, unbelievably, putting ear drops into a patient’s eye.
• Gregory Ashmore had is Tennessee nursing license revoked in 2002 when he engaged in sexual intercourse with a patient at a mental health facility.
All of these nurses currently maintain clean licenses in California. What’s most startling is that California did not require nursing applicants to state whether they have disciplined in another state until 2008 (probably after ProPublica started its investigation). And as you would expect, ProPublica turned up several instances of nurses who were disciplined in other states, who later were accused of misconduct in California.
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