Nursing Notes

August 1, 2011

TN nursing board under scrutiny over discipline case

The Tennessean

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Here is an excerpt of an article I first found on HealthLeadersMedia.com, so I followed the article to the source on The Tennessean.  This article really bothers me because I had never before thought about who monitors our state boards.  I don’t much care for the idea of politics and “good ole boy social networks” being put into play at my state board of nursing.  I don’t know why I had never thought of this possibility before.

We all got to see how outside forces try to interfere in nursing business with the West Texas story of the nurse whistle-blowers that made national news.  Now, it seems we need to start looking at things on an even higher level.

Please read this article and let me know what your thoughts are on this topic.  Are you concerned?  Are you secure that your board is not being pressured by politicians?  I’d love to hear from you.

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The Tennessean, July 20, 2011

he independence of the Board of Nursing to regulate the profession is under question as state investigators probe whether strong-arm tactics by lawmakers caused the board to rescind disciplinary actions.

At least two lawmakers, Rep. Tony Shipley and Rep. Dale Ford, pressed for the board to reconsider the suspension of three nurse practitioners accused of over-prescribing narcotics. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into these actions, which occurred when the Board of Nursing’s right to exist as a regulatory body was up for renewal by the legislature.

Sharon Adkins, executive director of the Tennessee Nurses Association, said the profession is closely watching the case.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for special interests to put undue pressure on the board to reverse their judgments,” Adkins said.

The board last year suspended the licenses of Bobby D. Reynolds, Tina Killebrew and David Stout, then reversed itself this May. The three nurses from Johnson City, who have not been charged with any crime, are the focus of an investigation, said Kristin Helm, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

But the probe into the actions of lawmakers and Tennessee Department of Health employees is a separate case launched after the Board of Nursing rescinded their suspensions on May 5. The House passed a bill to keep the Board of Nursing from sunsetting on May 19, with Shipley, R-Kingsport, and Ford, R-Jonesborough, among those voting in favor of the legislation.

Shipley, who had bragged to an East Tennessee newspaper about holding up the reauthorization bill, was mostly mum after news of the probe broke.

“I can confirm there is a TBI investigation going on,” he said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “I am cooperating fully with them and I expect this matter to be resolved in short order. Due to the fact this is an ongoing legal matter, I cannot comment any further at this time.”…[read more]

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