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The healthcare profession demands the highest standards of competence, professionalism, and attentiveness, as healthcare providers are responsible for the lives and well-being of their patients. Ensuring that nurses are fit to practice, both physically and mentally, is a fundamental prerequisite for the profession. However, there are regrettable instances when nurses exhibit impaired behavior while on duty, which not only jeopardizes their own well-being but also raises critical concerns about their ability to provide safe and effective care to patients. In situations where nurses encounter allegations or legal concerns related to impaired behavior and fitness to practice, a nurse attorney can offer essential support. They can advocate for the nurse’s rights throughout the investigation and any ensuing legal proceedings, ensuring the nurse is treated fairly and effectively represented.

At the time of the initial incident, he was employed as an RN at a hospital in Temple, Texas, and had been in that position for two (2) months.

On or about April 15, 2021, while employed as an RN at a hospital in Temple, Texas, and while assigned as the charge nurse in the ICU, RN exhibited signs of impaired behavior while on duty, including but not limited to being found on the floor with slurred speech, blacking out, wandering around the parking lot, and loss of memory. Further, RN was found by hospital security in the hospital parking lot exhibiting unusual behavior and was subsequently admitted to the facility’s Emergency Department. RN disclosed to the Board that he consumed alcohol prior to, and, while on duty. RN’s condition reflects a current lack of fitness to practice and could have affected his ability to recognize subtle signs, symptoms, or changes in patients’ conditions, and could have affected his ability to make rational, accurate, and appropriate assessments, judgments, and decisions regarding patient care, thereby placing the patients in potential danger.

RN’s first documented date of sobriety shown by random drug screen is May 15, 2021. RN provided proof of negative drug screens for that date as well as the following dates: June 1, 2021, July 7, 2021, August 17, 2021, September 29, 2021, October 19, 2021, November 12, 2021, December 28, 2021, January 25, 2022, February 16, 2022, March 31, 2022, and April 19, 2022.

In response, RN states this was his first-time obtaining treatment for his addiction, and he has learned a lot from treatment and counseling. RN states he is now comfortable asking others for help and he has learned that he must put himself first in order to be healthy enough to care for others. RN states he went directly from the hospital on April 15, 2021, to a behavioral healthcare facility to enter treatment. RN states his date of sobriety is April 15, 2021, because that was the last day he used any mind-altering substances and he points out he has remained compliant with treatment recommendations.

The above actions constitute grounds for disciplinary action in accordance with Section 301.452(b)(9),(10),(12)&(13) Texas Occupations Code, and is a violation of 22 TEX ADMIN. CODE §217.11(1)(A),(1)(B)&(1)(T) and 22 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §217.12 (1)(A),(1)(B),(1)(E),(4),(5)&(10)(A).

As a result, the Texas Board of Nursing decided to place his RN license under disciplinary action. It’s too bad that he failed to hire a nurse attorney for assistance, knowing that he had every reason to defend himself in the first place. His defense would have gotten better if he sought legal consultation from a Texas nurse attorney as well.

So, if you’re facing a complaint from the Board, it’s best to seek legal advice first. Texas Nurse Attorney Yong J. An is willing to assist every nurse in need of immediate help for nurse licensing cases. He is an experienced nurse attorney for various licensing cases for the past 17 years and represented over 500 nurses before the Texas BON. To contact him, please dial (832)-428-5679 for a confidential consultation or for more inquiries.