Ask Nurse Jesse: Disciplinary Action During COVID

Anonymous Nurse: During the time of crisis, more nurses are needed to stand the front line. Is the nursing board going to take leniency on nurses facing disciplinary action?

Nurse Jesse: The Ohio Board of Nursing published a guidance document in March 2020 on this issue:

From the Board, “This document provides guidance about the standards of practice for RNs and LPNs, while recognizing that nurses may be assigned to unfamiliar clinical area, types of patients or conditions. The document further refers to standards of practice established by the Nurse Practice Act (Chapter 4723. ORC) and in administrative rules: Standard of Practice Relative to Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse (Chapter 4723-4, OAC); Delegation of Nursing Tasks (Chapter 4723-13, OAC); and Prevention of Disease Transmission (Chapter 4723-20, OAC) that remain applicable to nursing during this state of emergency. The direct link to the document is here:

The guidance document also reflects that HB197, effective March 27, 2020, did not include a waiver of the Board’s enforcement of the scope and standards of nursing practice.

The Board recognizes that nurses are vital for patient care and safeguarding public health during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Nurses may be reassigned to unfamiliar clinical areas, types of patients or conditions, and/or equipment. Nevertheless, nurses are still required to practice in accordance with acceptable and prevailing standards of safe nursing care, regardless of the nurse’s area of specialization, the patient’s condition or illness, the type of facility, or location of the patient.”

All that to say, no matter what – nurses need to at the very least always adhere to the basic scope and standards of care per the law and rules. If nurses do something that violates the basic standards of care and/or their scope of practice, they may be still held accountable for that.