Professional Regulation and Criminal Liability Paper




Professional Regulation and Criminal Liability Paper

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Professional Regulation and Criminal Liability Paper


Nurses form the largest category of licensed health professionals in Michigan. It is nurses that offer most of the healthcare services to the Michigan people and nationwide. Nurses sometimes engage in professional misconduct and illegalities against the set rules. This paper seeks to identify the statutes laying out the licensure and regulation for nurses in Michigan, setting out the regulatory bodies, and the process of filing civil complaints. It also lays out Michigan nurses regulatory agencies, potential criminal liabilities for nurses involved in professional malpractice, and strategies established in Michigan to reduce liability and negligence risks.

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Michigan Statutes Regulating Nurses Licensure, Credentialing,

Certification, and Registration Requirements

For the sake of ensuring protection of health and safety of Michigan people, all healthcare professions, including nurses, are required to acquire a license. This is a requirement of the amended Michigan Public Health Code, Public Act 368 of 1978.

In the nursing practice, it is generally considered that the nursing professions essential documents function as the basis for regulatory policy-making and lawmaking in assuring safety of the public. The nursing practice is characteristically defined by the general Nurse Practice Act, together with the Board of Nursing. The nurses in Michigan are, therefore, subject to this Act and Board. There are, however, other legislations and regulations, which may affect practice of nurses, with other boards being crucial to the practice of nurses.

In Michigan, the licensure and regulation of the practice of nurses are executed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (MDLARA) and the Bureau of Health Professions (BHP). It only happens in case there is sufficient evidence of recommendations of the health professions specific board. The Bureau of Health Care Services, found within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, is the overall body in charge of overseeing the licensure, certification, investigation, and punishment of healthcare providers in Michigan.

Michigan has licensing of Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses, together with certification of Nurse-Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, and Nurse Anesthetists is implemented by the Michigan Board of Nursing. Michigan Department of Community Health houses the Michigan Board of Nursing. This board is mandated to conduct certification and licensure of health care providers and nurses while also receiving and looking into any complaints lodged against professional and ethical conduct of nurses in Michigan.

It is a general requirement that after licensure, all Registered Nurses (RNs) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are required to take part in life-long education for nurses in order to be re-licensed and recertified since continuing hours of education are a requisite for every re-licensing and recertification.

In the event of any complaint that regards professional misconduct of nurses in Michigan, these grievances are required to be filed with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Health Professions. This agency also deals with complaints raised about professional and ethical conduct of health care professionals, such as physicians, psychologists, pharmacists, and chiropractors.

In the event of suspected professional misconduct or incompetence, a complaint can be filed by any person believing the licensee nurse has engaged in such professional misconduct or incompetence. All these complaints are filed with the Michigan Board of Nursing, which reviews complaints to determine whether the Board has the power to look into these complaints. This is because the board is only allowed to investigate those nurses who received their licenses from the Michigan Board of Nursing, or those who have applied for licensure, and persons holding themselves out to people, the public, as Registered Nurses. The Board, further, upon identifying the validity of a complaint, can only probe into it if the complaint violates provision of the Nursing Practice Act or other regulations adopted by the Board. Complaints out of jurisdiction of the Michigan Board of Nursing are referred to other agencies better placed to address the complaint.

The Process of Filing a Civil Complaint

The complaint is filed by filling a prescribed complaint form, in which a detailed explanation of the complaint is filled in the complainants own words. The more firsthand the information is, the more effective the complaint will be addressed. Anonymous complaints are also reviewed, though it is recommended that a complainant leaves his or her personal information. If there is no sufficient evidence of the claim, a letter is sent to the complainant notifying him or her of the cases closure. If, however, sufficient evidence is established, then there is the assignment of the case to an Enforcement Coordinator Attorney, who gets a formal charge drafted. The charge is then reviewed by the Secretary of the Board and Supervising Member, together with Michigans Attorney Generals office before being forwarded to the Boards Members to arrive at a decision.

A civil complaint may also be filed against a nurse for suspected professional misconduct or incompetence by a patient or consumer who has been aggrieved by the nurses action or omission. It could be sharing of personal information without consumer or patients consent, assault or negligence. Since these grievances are covered under tort law, the aggrieved patient or consumer is free to seek redress in court in case the Michigan Board of Nursing has not adequately addressed his or her complaints. Still, they are entitled to apply directly to court to have their injuries remedied. In the process, the case is argued between the patient, or consumer, and the nurse. A decision is arrived at by the court depending on the kind of evidence produced by both parties. In some cases, the dispute is settled out of court just between the two parties.

Regulatory Agency

The State Ethics Board is a regulatory body made up of seven members who are residents of Michigan State. Only a maximum of four members of this board can be in the same political party while none of its members is allowed any association with public employment. This board is mandated to regulate the ethical conduct of state employees, whether classified or unclassified, and public officers of the executive branch who have been employed by the Governor or other official of the executive department. The Board, however, only has jurisdiction in relation to the professional and ethical conduct of health care professionals in the public sector and not in the private sector. The Boards core function is of an advisory and investigatory nature.

There are various disciplinary actions that may be taken in case there is a satisfactory proof of a violation. They comprise suspensions, reprimands, limitations, probations, or even permanent revocation of the nurses license. Nurses who are found guilty for criminal liability in court are usually suspended. If there is an emergency, the Board may be needed to call for a summary suspension pending a formal hearing.

Potential Criminal Liabilities

Criminal liabilities may arise for nurses relating to the abuses perpetrated in practices involving these nurses procedures, as well as professional misconduct. Some of these malpractices include treatment delays, alteration of medical records, administration of the incorrect drug and assault. These constitute professional misconduct that may initiate criminal proceedings. Charges, such as manslaughter, negligent homicide and second-degree murder may be instituted against these nurses. Criminal liability, however, has higher standard of proof and requires a myriad of elements, such as mens rea and motive, which should be established by prosecution. Eventually, unethical and unprofessional nurses may end up in prison and have their licenses revoked.

The Process to Follow in the Event of Criminal Charges

In Michigan, for a criminal case against a nurse for professional misconduct, a law enforcement agency investigates the issue. Search or arrest warrants may be issued for the collection of evidence. It leads to a grand jury indictment or a preliminary hearing, and then the accused nurse is arraigned in court formal charges read to her. She may be out on bail or not. A trial ensues if plea bargaining fails. A ruling is made, and it is subject to appeal at the wish of the accused nurse.

Risk Management Strategies and Quality Assurance Programs

to Reduce the Risk of Liability and Negligence

To reduce the risk of liability and negligence of nurses, the state of Michigan has installed equipment for recording of phone calls and conversations within hospitals. It has also ensured that the failure of a patient to follow a physicians and nurses instructions is recorded. It has also educated nurses on how to communicate with patients so as to avoid unnecessary mishaps.


Michigan has played a good role in ensuring laws on the licensure and regulation of nurses through the Michigan Board of Nursing. It has provided clear-cut procedures for filing of complaints by patients and consumers against nurses with the aid of its regulatory agencies such as the State Board of Ethics. There has also been assurance of health and safety of Michigan people through the employment of criminal justice system in addressing matters of professional malpractice by nurses in Michigan.

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