Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image

Disciplinary Process Information
Who Can or Should File a Complaint?
How To File a Complaint Against a Nurse or Nursing Assistant
Complaint Process and Disciplinary Options
Who Is and Isn't Regulated by the Board of Nursing
How A Criminal History Can Affect the Licensure Process
Who Can or Should File a Complaint?
hands
A complaint should be filed by anyone who believes that an Oregon nurse or nursing assistant has acted illegally or dangerously in regard to her/his professional responsibilities. Allegations may include (but are not limited to) gross negligence or incompetence, unprofessional conduct, license fraud, misrepresentations, substance dependence, sexual misconduct, mental illness or unlicensed activities. 
 
Click Here to File a Complaint Against a Nurse or Nursing Assistant. 
 
How To File a Complaint Against a Nurse or Nursing Assistant
Things to Remember
Complaints can be anonymous and made using our online complaint form, by e-mail, by telephone (971-673-0678), in person, or by US mail sent to the OSBN office at 17938 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road, Portland, OR 97224. Please try to include as much specific information as you can. 
 
Oregon state law directs that all information about specific investigations is confidential, including who makes a complaint, when the complaint is made, the nature of the complaint and who the complaint is filed against. In addition, OSBN staff is not allowed to discuss specific investigations with anyone--not even the complainant. Once an investigation is complete, any disciplinary action taken by the OSBN during a Board Meeting is public information, however, details of the investigation leading up to such actions are not. 
 
Click Here to File a Complaint Against a Nurse or Nursing Assistant. 

What to Include in Your Complaint
The following questions are intended as a guide to help you when submitting information about your complaint. It is not necessary to answer every question.
  • Who:
    • Who committed the actions you are reporting?
    • Who was the victim(s)?
    • Who discovered the incident/behavior?
    • Who else was involved?
    • Who else was in the vicinity?
  • What:
    • What happened?
    • What actions were performed by the nurse/nursing assistant?
    • What equipment was involved?
  • Where:
    • Where did the incident/behavior occur?
    • Where was the incident discovered?
    • Where were the witnesses (if any) during the incident?
  • When:
    • When did the incident/behavior occur?
    • When were supervisors/authorities notified?
  • How:
    • How was the incident committed?
    • How was the incident/behavior discovered?
    • How much property or money was taken?
    • How much damage was done?

 
Complaint Process and Disciplinary Options
NCSBN Informational Video on the Investigative Process
Click to view National Council of State Boards of Nursing informational video on the investigative process.
 
 

General Information
According to Oregon state law, all information obtained during a specific investigation is confidential, including who makes a complaint. This encourages consumers and licensees to make valid complaints because they need not fear reprisal or other negative acts based on their complaint.
 
Approximately 70 percent of all complaints received by the Board are closed without disciplinary action. Upon investigation, the Board may determine that no violations of statute or administrative rule occurred. Complainants may request a written explanation for cases that are closed without disciplinary action. Any disciplinary action taken by the Board during a Board Meeting is public information, however details of the investigations leading up to such actions are not.

Complaints & Investigations
  1. Complaints: Complaints may be filed in writing, over the phone or in person. Anonymous complaints are accepted. Approximately 50–60 percent of complaints come from nursing employers. The remainder come from state agencies, other professionals, coworkers or patients/families.
  2. Investigations: Investigations into complaints are performed by OSBN staff investigators. Investigators first validate whether there is concern about the nurse’s practice or conduct. The investigation may include:
 
  • a review of pertinent documents, such as a summary of the incident
  • interviews with the complainant(s), coworkers or employer; and
  • a review of patient records, the nurse’s personnel record, police reports or court records.
If there is evidence of a practice or conduct problem, an investigator will meet with the licensee or applicant in person or by phone. If there are grounds for disciplinary action, the investigator makes a recommendation to the Board based on the OSBN discipline theory model, OSBN disciplinary policies and past Board decisions.

Resolutions & Sanctions
Complaint Resolution
Disciplinary cases may be resolved by:
  • Stipulated agreement—The nurse signs a document acknowledging the facts of the incident, violations of law and OSBN rules, the proposed disciplinary action and any terms and conditions to be imposed. The agreement goes to the Board for consideration and potential adoption and a Final Order is issued. Most disciplinary cases (98 percent) are resolved by stipulated agreement.
  • Notice—If agreement is not reached, a "Notice" document is sent to the nurse. The Notice is a public document and may be requested by the complainant or the public. It is essentially a statement of charges against the nurse. The Notice contains a timeframe within which a hearing can be requested, and specifies the level of sanction that has been proposed. The nurse is entitled to a hearing and is granted every opportunity to exercise that right. If the nurse does not request a hearing within the allotted timeframe, the case goes to the Board for a decision by default. If the nurse has a hearing and does not agree with the Board’s final decision, she/he can appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals. If there is disagreement with the Court’s decision, the nurse can appeal further to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Disciplinary Sanctions
The OSBN can impose a range of disciplinary sanctions:
  • Reprimand—A formal notice to the nurse that OSBN standards have been violated. The nursing license is not "encumbered."
     
  • Civil Penalty—A fine of up to $5,000.
     
  • Probation—An imposition of restrictions or conditions under which a nurse must practice, including the type of employment setting or job role.
     
  • Suspension—A period of time during which a nurse may not practice nursing.
     
  • Revocation—A removal of a license or certification for an unspecified period of time, perhaps permanently.
     
  • Voluntary Surrender—An action on the part of the nurse to give up her/his license or certificate instead of facing potential suspension or revocation.
     
  • Denial of Licensure—An action by the Board not to issue a license or certificate.
 

 
Who Is and Isn't Regulated by the Board of Nursing
Who Does the OSBN Regulate?
The Oregon State Board of Nursing regulates Certified Nursing Assistants; Certified Medication Aides; Licensed Practical Nurses; Registered Nurses; Clinical Nurse Specialists; Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists; and, 10 nurse practitioner specialties. The OSBN also have authority to investigate applicants for the above categories or people purporting to be licensed by the OSBN in one of those categories.
 
Nurse practitioner specialties are:
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP);
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP);
  • College Health Nurse Practitioner  (CHNP);
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP);
  • Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (GNP);
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP);
  • Nurse Midwife Nurse Practitioner (NMNP);
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP);
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP); and,
  • Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHCNP).

Who Is Not Regulated by the OSBN?
The OSBN does not regulate any other medical professions, including physicians, chiropractors, physician assistants, or respiratory therapists. For a complete list of health care regulatory boards and other state agencies, click here.