NY Lags Behind Most of US in Screening Process for Nurses

Nurse Screening

According to a recent report, New York has fallen behind most other states in how it vets and disciplines nurses. While nursing boards throughout the country have taken steps over the last 15 years to strengthen their screening processes, the Empire State hasn’t.

It’s Different Here in NY

Applicants for nursing licenses in New York are not required to undergo even the simplest of background checks or even to submit fingerprints. Most other states mandate these seemingly basic requirements.

When a New York nurse is negligent in their duties, the chances are better than average that absolutely no disciplinary action will be taken. To illustrate the point, consider this:

In 2014, the Office of Professions – an extension of the NY Dept. of Education responsible for overseeing professional medical conduct – disciplined less than 350 nurse licensees. That works out to 1 in 1,190 nurses. Contrast that with Ohio, which disciplined over 1,600 – 1 in 153 – nurses during the same year. California (1 in 325) and Texas (1 in 167) also seemed to be stricter in how they doled out discipline of their nurses.

Investigator Reaches Out to Senator Over Nurses With Criminal Past

One investigator within the Office of Professions expressed concerns of lack discipline in a letter to NY State Senator Michael Venditto. In the letter, the investigator warned of potential consequences of not requiring background checks. Examples he gave included one licensed nurse who had a violent criminal history and another who maintained an active license for three years – while she awaited trial for being charged with selling prescription drugs.

In a reply to the investigator’s letter, NY State Commissioner of Education Mary Ellen Elia claimed that the agency would support requirements for background checks and fingerprint submission for nurses if there were legislation requiring it. Thus far, there’s been no such legislation.

The Fitzgerald Law Firm: Here to Help You in Times of Medical Malpractice

We’ve been vocal on this site in numerous blog entries about our support for and appreciation of the majority of medical personnel. In so many instances, their skills and talents can literally be the difference between life and death for their patients.

However, we’re firm believers that those same medical personnel – all of them – be held to strict professional standards. Anything less than that is definitely risking medical malpractice.

If you feel you’ve experienced medical malpractice, we want to talk with you about your options for fair compensation. Contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm today so that we can schedule a free initial consultation.