A N A C T
RELATING TO NURSES
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 5-34-25 of the General Laws in Chapter 5-34 entitled "Nurses" is hereby amended to read as follows:
5-34-25. Procedure for discipline of licensees. -- (a) Upon filing a timely sworn complaint within a time period the board considers reasonable with the board charging a person with having been guilty of any of the actions specified in section 5-34-24, two (2) or more members of the board of nurse registration and nursing education immediately investigate those charges, or the board, after investigation, may institute charges. In the event that investigation, in the opinion of the board, reveals reasonable grounds for believing the applicant or licensee is guilty of the charges, the board fixes a time and place for a hearing of the charges and causes a copy of the charges, together with a notice of the time and place fixed for the hearing, to be personally served upon the accused at least twenty (20) days prior to the time fixed for the hearing. When personal service cannot be effected and that fact is certified by oath by any person authorized to make service, the board causes to be published once in each of two (2) successive weeks a notice of the hearing in a newspaper published in the county where the defendant last resided according to the records of the board and mails a copy of the charges and the notice to the accused at his or her last known address. When publication of notice is necessary, the date of the hearing is not less than twenty (20) days after the last date of publication of the notice. At the hearing, the accused has the right to appear personally, or by counsel, or both, to produce witnesses and to have subpoenas issued by the board. The attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents, and papers at the hearing may be compelled by subpoenas issued by the board, which is served in accordance with the law. At the hearing, the board administers oaths that may be necessary for the proper conduct of the hearing. The board is not bound by the strict rules of procedure or by the laws of evidence in the conduct of its proceedings, but the determination is based upon sufficient legal evidence to sustain it. The board,
giving due consideration to its available resources and competing responsibilities shall make its best efforts to complete the investigation of each complaint and issue a decision within six (6) months of the receipt of the complaint . The board, at its sole discretion, ; provided, however, that the board may extend the time for issuing its decision beyond the initial six (6) month period, provided that individuals subject to the extension of review are provided with written notice of the extension. in documented cases in which delays in the process are the direct result of requests or actions by the accused and/or his or her representative(s)or other good cause. The board, on a case by case basis, for good cause shown in writing, may extend the time for issuing its decision. If the accused is found guilty of the charges, the board may revoke, suspend, or otherwise discipline a licensee. If the accused is found guilty of the charges, the board may revoke, suspend, or discipline a licensee.
(b) Upon revocation or suspension of a license, the holder surrenders the license to the administrator of professional regulation, who strikes the name of the holder from the current roster of licensed nurses. The date and action taken is recorded. The case of a licensee with a revoked or suspended license is reviewed at the discretion of the board. The case of a licensee who was reprimanded or disciplined by the board should be recorded as to the date and the action taken and may be reviewed at the discretion of the board.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.