Reviewing a Complaint
A report that describes the practice or behavior of a nurse which may be a violation of a law or rule is called a complaint. The process used to investigate and act on a complaint varies with consideration of
If a complaint alleges a violation of a law or rule the Board of Nursing is empowered by law to enforce, the complaint is jurisdictional.
Complaints which are not within the authority of the Board are considered non-jurisdictional.
A serious complaint pertains to an alleged situation which involves actual or potential harm to a patient or others, a repeated violation of law or rules or other conduct which, if true, warrants a disciplinary order from the Board.
Most complaints are considered moderately serious because the alleged situations have not resulted in serious harm, may be resolved with education rather than discipline, or remediation is underway.
If a complaint is received about an alleged situation in the distant past, complete remediation has occurred prior to reporting, or the alleged situation is minor in nature, the complaint is considered not serious.
Priority ranking is given to complaints about applicants for licensure or reregistration, when the alleged conduct is egregious and when the potential for harm is immediate and not remote.
Standard processing of a complaint occurs most frequently.
Complaint Handling Process Flow Charts
Flow charts which describe the administrative hearing process and the informal (conference) complaint handling process have been developed see related links at the bottom of this page.
(Note: you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download and print the complaint handling process flow charts.)
Investigative and Legal Services
A complaint may be investigated by writing the nurse who is the subject of the complaint to gather facts. Additional investigation may be done by Board of Nursing staff or investigators from the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General.
In every case the Board receives legal advice and services from an Assistant Attorney General from the Office of the Attorney General.
Meeting With the Subject of a Complaint (nurse)
Disciplinary Conference with Board Review Panel
A Board Review Panel, consisting of one Board member and one Registered Nurse staff member, meets with the nurse who is the subject of a complaint. The purpose of the meeting is to gather facts, discuss specific allegations previously sent to the nurse, and arrive at a mutually agreeable resolution to the alleged situation. The resolution, called a Consent Order, is then presented to the Board for adoption.
This Board Review Panel is advised by an Assistant Attorney General. The nurse may be represented by an attorney of the nurse's choice but is not required to do so.
Educational conference with a Board Review Panel
A Board Review Panel, consisting of one Board member and one Registered Nurse staff member, meets with the nurse who is the subject of a complaint. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss specific allegations previously sent to the nurse. If necessary the Panel members will provide education to prevent reoccurrence of inappropriate practice. Occasionally the Panel and nurse will enter into an agreement for corrective action.
Both the Board Review Panel and nurse may be advised by their respective attorneys.
Contested Case Hearing
If a disciplinary or educational conference does not result in a mutually agreeable resolution of the situation, the Board may proceed to a contested case hearing before an Administrative Law Judge from the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings. Under certain other circumstances a hearing may be held before the full Board of Nursing.
The outcome of both types of hearings is an order of the Board of Nursing. Because the order was not the result of agreement with the nurse, the Board order may be appealed by the nurse to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and subsequently by either party to the Minnesota Supreme Court.