Nurse Gateway
Frequently Asked Questions

Discipline & Compliance

  1. Does the Board of Nursing investigate complaints against Nurse Aides?

  2. What kind of issues are not within the Board’s jurisdiction?

  3. How long will it take the Board of Nursing to conduct an investigation into my complaint?

  4. Does the Board accept anonymous complaints?

  5. Who are imposters?

  6. Will my identity be protected if I list myself as the complainant?

  7. How do I find out the status of my complaint?

  8. Is there a statute of limitations on the time between an incident and filing a complaint?

  9. Is the licensee notified of a complaint?

  10. What is the North Carolina Board of Nursing Complaint Evaluation Tool (CET)?

  11. Should I self-report if I believe a complaint will be submitted against me?

  12. Can a nurse under investigation work while the investigation is being conducted?

  13. Should an Attorney be retained?

  14. What if a nurse is working in North Carolina on a multi-state license?

  15. If I’m under investigation, how can I prove to the Board I didn’t do anything wrong?

  16. If I receive disciplinary action, why does it have to be published?

  17. If I am being investigated, can I see the records and documents the Board has gathered in my case?

  18. If, while under investigation, I no longer wish to practice nursing, can I surrender my license?

  19. How can I remove disciplinary action from my record?

  20. Can I appeal a Board’s decision?

  21. What if notices or final orders are not received by the nurse?

  1. Does the Board of Nursing investigate complaints against Nurse Aides?

    No. To submit a complaint regarding a Nurse Aide I or Nurse Aide II you should contact the Health Care Personnel Registry Investigations Division at (919) 855-3968.

  2. What kind of issues are not within the Board’s jurisdiction?

    Examples include but are not limited to: Employment issues (i.e., no call-no show, failure to complete work notice, co-worker disagreements, bedside manners, rudeness and personality conflicts, attendance issues, work hours); fee disputes/compensation claims.

  3. How long will it take the Board of Nursing to conduct an investigation into my complaint?

    The process used to inquire or investigate an act on a complaint may vary depending upon the seriousness of the allegation(s) and the timeliness of the complaint. Investigations take time to complete. It may take a number of weeks to months depending on the complexity and seriousness of the alleged conduct, the ability to locate witnesses, and the response time for record requests.

  4. Does the Board accept anonymous complaints?

    Yes, anonymous complaints are accepted, however, we must still have the specifics of the complaint – “who, what, where, when, how & why.” Not having a complainant name may hamper our ability to fully investigate the complaint. One of the main sources of information in an investigation is the complainant. Often the investigator needs to contact the complainant to clarify information, seek additional information or follow up on conflicting information.

  5. Who are imposters?

    Imposters are individuals who have represented themselves as nurses but have never held a license to practice nursing.

    90-171.43 License required.

    No person shall practice or offer to practice as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, or use the word “nurse” as a title for herself or himself, or use an abbreviation to indicate that the person is a registered nurse or licensed practice nurse, unless the person is currently licensed as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse as provided by this Article. If the word “nurse” is part of a longer title, such as “nurse’s aide”, a person who is entitled to use that title shall use the entire title and may not abbreviate the title to “nurse”.

  6. Will my identity be protected if I list myself as the complainant?

    The investigator will do all he/she can to protect your anonymity if requested; however, if there are charges brought against a licensee reported to us, you may be required to testify. The licensee has the right to contest the charge(s) and therefore would have the right to question the source of information at Administrative Hearing proceedings.

  7. How do I find out the status of my complaint?

    All complainants who provide a valid name and address are notified as to the final outcome of their complaint.

  8. Is there a statute of limitations on the time between an incident and filing a complaint?

    No. Each complaint upon receipt is reviewed regardless of when the incident occurred; however, it is always better if the report is made close to the time of the event. Locating witnesses and finding documents is more difficult as time passes thus impeding the effectiveness of the investigation.

  9. Is the licensee notified of a complaint?

    Complaints which are potential violations of the Nursing Practice Act are referred for inquiry/investigation. The licensee will be notified and given an opportunity to participate in the investigation when there is found to be some merit to the allegation/complaint. However, if the BON does not have the correct mailing address to notify the licensee, the nurse loses the opportunity to participate in the investigation. The investigation will proceed with or without the licensee’s participation. It is the licensee’s responsibility to keep the Board of Nursing informed of his/her correct address.

  10. What is the North Carolina Board of Nursing Complaint Evaluation Tool (CET)?

    The North Carolina Board of Nursing Complaint Evaluation Tool (CET) is a tool developed by the Board of Nursing for nurse leaders and employers to identify and clarify when practice events are required to be reported to the Board. The CET provides a framework through which employers, nursing leaders, and the Board of Nursing can consistently and justly analyze and evaluate clinical practice events and errors. The CET guides the evaluation of whether the practice event/issue was a result of human error, at-risk behavior, or reckless behavior.

  11. Should I self-report if I believe a complaint will be submitted against me?

    Although self reporting exhibits ownership and responsibility for your actions, it is not required that you self-report. If you wish to submit a written statement regarding the incident prior to being reported, entitle your statement “Self-Report” and submit to the Complaint Coordinator. Fax to 919-781-9461, or email complaint@ncbon.com.

  12. Can a nurse under investigation work while the investigation is being conducted?

    Yes. The nurse continues to hold a valid license to practice until final action is taken.

  13. Should an Attorney be retained?

    One of the nurse's rights in this process is the right to hire an Attorney during any phase of the investigation. If the nurse elects to retain an Attorney, the nurse will be responsible for ensuring that their Attorney provides the Investigator with a Letter of Representation.

  14. What if a nurse is working in North Carolina on a multi-state license?

    If a complaint is filed related to an incident that occurs in North Carolina, while a nurse is working on a multistate license from another Compact State, the North Carolina Board of Nursing will investigate the allegation in regards to the Privilege to Practice in this state. The home state of licensure will be notified and may sanction the license as would be the case if a nurse was licensed in North Carolina.

  15. If I’m under investigation, how can I prove to the Board I didn’t do anything wrong?

    A nurse is afforded the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him or her and to offer evidence to be considered to show compliance with the Nursing Practice Act. A nurse may provide this information by participating in an interview and may also be asked to submit a written statement.

  16. If I receive disciplinary action, why does it have to be published?

    All disciplinary action taken by the Board is public information in accordance with the Public Information Act - GS 132-1.

  17. If I am being investigated, can I see the records and documents the Board has gathered in my case?

    If a nurse wishes to review the documents collected as evidence, he or she may come to the Board office (by appointment), as these documents will not be copied or made available unless the matter becomes a contested case.

  18. If, while under investigation, I no longer wish to practice nursing, can I surrender my license?

    Yes. You cannot apply for reinstatement until at least one year has lapsed from the date of surrender. Voluntary surrender is considered official Board discipline.

  19. How can I remove disciplinary action from my record?

    All actions taken by the Board are final and there is no mechanism for removal.

  20. Can I appeal a Board’s decision?

    Appeals to Administrative decisions are heard in Superior Court in the county of the residence of the licensee or in Wake County.

  21. What if notices or final orders are not received by the nurse?

    The Board of Nursing is required to send orders for resolution to a nurse’s address of record by restricted certified mail. By law, a nurse is required to notify the Board of address changes. If notification cannot be accomplished through mail service, notice may occur by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county of the last known address.

North Carolina Board of Nursing

The mission of the North Carolina Board of Nursing is to protect the public by regulating the practice of nursing.
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North Carolina Board of Nursing