How to File a Complaint
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 whom the complaint is filed against. In addition, OSBN staff cannot 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.
Any person who believes a nurse or nursing assistant has violated the Nurse Practice Act should file a complaint. Complaints can be anonymous and made using our online complaint form
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.
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 committed the actions you are reporting?
- Who was the victim(s)?
- Who discovered the incident/behavior?
- Who else was involved?
- What happened?
- What equipment was involved?
- Where did the incident/behavior occur?
- Where were the witnesses (if any) during the incident?
- When did the incident/behavior occur?
- When were supervisors/authorities notified?
- How was the incident committed?
- How was the incident/behavior discovered?
- How much property or money was taken?
Complaints & Investigations
- Complaints: Complaints may be filed in writing (using our online complaint form) or by US mail. Anonymous complaints are accepted, but are more difficult to investigate. Approximately 50–60 percent of complaints come from nursing employers. The remainder come from state agencies, other professionals, coworkers, or patients and their families.
- Investigations: Investigations into complaints are performed by OSBN staff investigators. Investigators first validate whether the complaint falls into the OSBN's jurisdiction and if there is concern about the nurse’s practice or conduct. The investigation may include 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. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will present the facts of the case to the Board. If there are grounds for disciplinary action, the Board will make a decision (whether or not to impose discipline, and if so, what sanction is appropriate) based on Oregon statute and administrative rules.
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 (75 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.
If the Board decides to take disciplinary action in response to a violation of the Nurse Practice Act, it 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. Information about monitored practice.
- 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.