Today’s topic is nurse practitioners and how they are regulated and what happens when a complaint is filed against them. Nurse practitioners have approval to practice through the Medical Board as well as the Board of Nursing. Nurse Practitioners have to have a RN license through the North Carolina Board of Nursing before they get the approval to practice, and there are certain educational requirements that must be met for nurse practitioners as well [21 NCAC 32M .0101 thru 21 NCAC 32M .0118]. If there is a complaint that is filed against a nurse practitioner, it is going to be investigated by the Board of Nursing. However, once the investigation has concluded, then the investigator is going to send their report over to the Joint Committee. That Joint Committee is going to be made up of not only members of the North Carolina Board of Nursing but also members of the Medical Board as well.
They are going to meet—they meet every other month—and they are going to decide whether or not there is going to be any sort of recommendation for discipline. They can come back and decide there is not anything there and dismiss it. They can also come back and decide that they do find a violation of either the Medical Board Act or the Nursing Act and present a recommendation for discipline [21 NCAC 36 .0812]. This can be a recommendation of a private letter of concern or a non-published consent order, which has to be agreed to and signed by the licensee. They can also come back with a recommendation of public reprimand, suspension, or revocation. From there, you do not have to take the recommendation if you do not want to. You have got a couple options from that point and further on down the road, which would include a contested hearing in front of the Board of Nursing.