The Board of Registration in Nursing is authorized by state law to investigate consumer complaints filed against nurses, and to issue sanctions when there is evidence of a violation of laws, regulations, or standards of conduct that pose a risk to the public. Nursing complaints are specifically handled by the Massachusetts Bureau of Health Professions Licensure’s Office of Public Protection. When a new complaint is filed against a nurse, the Board staff will conduct an initial assessment of the allegations to determine if there is any potential violation of the law, and if the complaint falls within the purview of the Board’s jurisdiction. If it is determined that an investigation is warranted, an Investigator will be assigned to the matter, and the nurse will be asked to prepare a written response to the complaint. The Investigator will also request the production of certain documents, and may seek to interview the nurse and other appropriate individuals. Ultimately, the Investigator will report his/her findings to the Board, which will decide to either close the complaint or recommend that a nurse be disciplined. At that point in time, the nurse may choose to resolve the case and accept a negotiated discipline, or instead opt for a full administrative hearing.
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