1 TWO NURSE IMPOSTERS PRACTICING WITHOUT A LICENSE CONVICTED OF FELONIES Valerie Smith, RN, MS, Associate Director On October 10, 2003, Carla Moore pled guilty and wa s convicted in Maricopa Superior Court of 6 undesignated offense after working in two “Unlawful Practicing of Nursing”, a Class healthcare facilities as a licen ng completed a nursing program or sed practical nurse without havi obtaining nursing licensure. M oore was sentenced to 3 months in Maricopa County Jail ling over $11, 000 to the two beginning March 1, 2004; 3 year s probation; restitution tota healthcare facilities that hired and paid her as an LPN; community servic e; and prohibited from in any capacity as a care-giver obtaining employment or working or health-care professional. On February 11, 2004, Shannon Gail was convicted Court of “Unlawful in Maricopa Superior offense after working in a position as a RN Representation of Nursing” a Class 6 undesignated ation for a quality management position to a without licensure. Shannon submitted an applic N. She was hired and worked in the position local hospital and claimed to have a BSN and MS from July 2002- January 2003. Shannon was identif ied as an imposter after submitting a copy of a nursing license to her employer that she had altered by placing her name on the document and changing the expiration date. Sh annon was sentenced to 12 months probation; restitution; fines and fees; and ordered to not apply or work for any jobs as any type of nurse or caregiver and not to hold herself to be any type of nurse. The Arizona Board of Nursing has e number of individuals claiming continued to see a rise in th at requires nursing licensure without valid license to be licensed nurses or working in positions th ls put patients at risk by performing tasks and decision-making and credentials. These individua which they are unqualified and unlicensed to do. Five Ways Nurse Imposters Gain Employment se” and who may subsequently practice nursing 1.) An unlicensed person who poses as a “nur or represent to patients and the pub lic that they are a licensed nurse; 2.) A person who gains nursing licensure based on fraudulent credentials; 3.) A person who steals the identity of another licensed nurse and practices; 4.) A person who is licensed in one capacity a tials and practices or nd alters his/her creden attempts to practice in another capacity. 5.) A person claiming to be a licensed nurse who may have completed a nursing program and may have been licensed at one time, but is not currently eligible for nursing licensure. Approximately One Imposter is Id entified Each Month in Arizona In 2003, the Board issued 13 Cease and Desist letters to individuals who misrepresented themselves as a licensed nurse. From January 1, 2004 to April 5, 2004, the Arizona State Board
2 of Nursing (ASBN) has issued 4 Cease and De sist letters to indivi duals misrepresenting were also referred to the Attorney General’s themselves as nurses. Many of these individuals office for criminal prosecution, as were Carla Moore and Gail Shannon . & Managers Must Know Four Red Flags Employers Although the typical impostor often has some prior healthcare related training or exposure, imposters have great potential to place patients at risk as they lack the appropriated training and experience to be providing the type and level of care for Following is a list of red flags for managers and which they may be employed. employers that an individual may be a nursing imposter: Failure to provide the license. Claims to have a license and may even • a license number and expira tion date but has multiple provide you with reasons why they cannot provide you wi th the actual license (“It was stolen; I’m waiting for the board to send me a new license...”) • You may be provided with a copy of Provides copied & altered license. license but not the actual license docume nt issued by the Board. Review of ment reflects: the copied docu The typeset of the name, expiratio n date and/or license number is o different from the typeset otherwise on the license. The expiration date is not consistent with the standard Board issued o expiration date of 6/30/_ _. o Unusual lines indicative of “cut an d paste” may be on the copied document. Written/typed informatio n on the copied document is slanted, not o level. • Demonstration of competencies inconsistent with licensure. The individual’s knowledge and performance of standard nursing duties does not tice that would be expected given the nursing reflect the level of prac licensure, education or expe rience that they claim. Inconsistent state of licensure information. Individual claims to have a • state but provides an address of multistate license from another compact record or other identificati on such as a driver’s licen se in a different state. Employer & Manager Safeguards Against Imposters . Although easy to alter a copy of a • Insist upon seeing the original license, not a copy source document will be more evident. document, alterations to the original • If your organization or facility requires that a copy of the nursing license be maintained in the personnel file, make a copy from the original license . Do not accept a copy from the applicant/employee. • Do not allow an individual to work in a capacity that requires nursing licensure erifying the status of the license with the without having visualized the license and v If an Arizona license, verify the license with the ASBN. issuing Board of Nursing. You may verify a license by e-mailing ASBN at [email protected] , or through ASBN’s website, www.azboardofnursing.org , and click on Online Veri fication. Confirm that information provided by ASBN is consistent w ith information provide d by the applicant, including name, license type a nd number, and expiration date. • If an individual presents a multistate licen se, their primary state of residence must be the state in which they have ob tained the multistate license.
3 o an the state that i ssued the multistate If they provide a “home” address other th in Arizona is valid or that they have license, confirm that their privilege to work applied for licensure with ASBN. Verify the license with the compact state that issued the license. A listing and o of nursing and information on the Nurse contact information for all state boards Licensure Compact is available through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing at www.ncsbn.org . Maintain the security of files that cont ain copies of nursing staff’s licenses. A • common way of obtaining anothe r individual’s license is thef t from employer records or from the actual nurse. • resentation or practi ce of nursing to Report all cases of suspected fraudulent rep If you are aware of other ways imposter ASBN. nurses have be identified but not hired or previously reported, please contac t Valerie Smith, RN, MS at 602 889-5206 PA) related to unlicensed practice Statutes in the Nurse Practice Act (N : include the following • Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 1636: “Use of title by professional nurse” Only a person who holds a valid and current lic ense to practice professional nursing in this state or in a party st ate pursuant to sectio “nurse”. “registered n 32-1668 may use the title nurse:” or the abbreviation “R.N.”. nurse”, “graduate nurse” or professional A.R.S. § 1641 “ Use of title by practical nurse” • Only a person who holds a valid and current license to practice as a licensed practical nurse in this state or in a party state as defined in s ection 32-1668 may use the title “nurse”, “licensed practical nurse”, “pract ical nurse” or the ab breviation “L.P.N.”. • A.R.S. § 32-1666 (A)(1), (2) and (3): Unlawful acts It is unlawful for a person not licensed or ce r to: (1) Practice or rtified under this chapte practical nursing in this stat offer to practice professional or e; (2) Represent or use any title, abbreviation, letters, figures, sign, card or device to indicate that the person or any other person is a registered, graduate or prof essional nurse; (3) Represent or use any title, abbreviation, letters, sign, card or device to indicate that he or any other person is a licensed practical nurse or certified nursing assistant. • A.R.S. § 1667(2): A person is guilty of a class 6 felony who engages in any conduct prohibited in section 32-1666.
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