The board charged with overseeing California's 350,000 registered nurses often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct, leaving nurses accused of wrongdoing free to practice without restrictions. More »
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced most members of the state Board of Registered Nursing, citing the unacceptable time it takes to discipline nurses accused of egregious misconduct. More »
Reporting Recipe: How You Can Investigate Your State’s Oversight of Its Nurses and Other Licensed Professionals
We analyzed the records of nearly 2,400 nurses who faced disciplinary action by the California Board of Registered Nursing. You can keep track of nurses -- and many other licensed professionals -- in your state. Here's how.
All 34 Stories (11)updates since last visit
Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc. had been accused of submitting false bills to federal and state health programs. An earlier ProPublica investigation found that the company had hired several nurses despite a history of problems.
Hundreds of state agencies have failed to tell the federal government about health professionals they disciplined, ProPublica has found.
A 24-state compact created to help get nurses to areas where they are needed most has provided cover to nurses with a record of misconduct.
After a ProPublica-LA Times investigation, regulators found 3,500 nurses with clean California licenses had been punished for misconduct in other states.
A California state senator agrees to drop some provisions of her bill on the investigation and discipline of California health professionals.
Labor unions representing California nurses are attacking key parts of a bill that would overhaul the state’s system for investigating and disciplining health workers accused of misconduct.
An oversight change follows revelations that a repository on dangerous health care providers is missing many records.
How easy does your state make it to investigate licensed nurses online?
A look at which states provide online information on nurses' licenses and discipline.
Records from many serious cases are absent from a database designed to let hospitals check on problem health care providers.
States fail to effectively tell one another about sanctions, so disciplined nurses often go work elsewhere without restrictions.
Fingerprint checks of thousands of California nurses not previously subject to background checks have turned up dozens of convictions of crimes ranging from petty theft to murder.
The California Board of Registered Nursing has taken actions against nurses featured in a series of stories by ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times.
There's no simple way for a hospital or temp agency to find out if a nurse it might hire has caused problems elsewhere in the United States.
Emboldened by a chronic nursing shortage and scant regulation, temp nursing firms vie for their share of a free-wheeling, $4-billion industry. Some have become havens for nurses who hopscotch from place to place to avoid the consequences of their misconduct.
California will require health workers who have abused drugs and are in state-run recovery programs to take at least 104 drug tests in their first year.
After moving swiftly to replace the leadership of the Board of Registered Nursing, California officials are revamping practices that had allowed errant nurses to work for years after complaints were filed against them.
The California governor says the process for policing health professionals is broken, but some of the problems have worsened on his watch.
The state's nursing board, tightening its rules, will apply the same standard to short-term licenses that is already in place for permanent ones.
Managers of the California Board of Registered Nursing seek to more than triple the size of their enforcement staff and immediately boost licensing fees to speed discipline against errant nurses who may pose a danger to patients.
For years, nursing board officials have described diversion as a haven where good nurses can kick bad habits – without losing their licenses or their reputations. But spotty oversight of the program allowed nurses who dropped out to continue treating patients, despite being labeled risks to public safety.
The longtime executive officer of the embattled California Board of Registered Nursing resigned Tuesday, ensuring almost entirely new leadership for the agency as it strives to revamp its oversight of hundreds of thousands of caregivers. But the sweeping reforms promised by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week face significant obstacles.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced most members of the state Board of Registered Nursing, citing the unacceptable time it takes to discipline nurses accused of egregious misconduct.
Leaders of the California Board of Registered Nursing sent a note of encouragement to their staff following a Los Angeles Times-ProPublica investigation that found the board takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct.
Search the California Board of Registered Nursing database for disciplinary procedures between 2002 and September 2009.
Today Spencer Sullivan, 48, spends his days in a wheelchair at his Laguna Hills home. In 2001, after neck surgery at UC San Francisco Medical Center, two doctors gave similar orders for powerful medications. Instead of questioning the duplication, a nurse gave Sullivan all of the drugs, then didn't check on him as required, state records allege.
The board charged with overseeing California's 350,000 registered nurses often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct, leaving nurses accused of wrongdoing free to practice without restrictions, our joint investigation with The Los Angeles Times found.
California's failure to check the criminal backgrounds of health professionals extends well beyond nurses, encompassing tens of thousands of doctors, dentists, psychiatric technicians and therapists. As many as a third of the state's 937,100 licensed healthcare workers have not been screened through fingerprint checks, according to a December 2008 estimate.
Even in cases when vocational nurses reported their own felony convictions, the vocational nursing board failed to act in a timely manner.
The California Board of Registered Nursing approved emergency regulations requiring all licensees to submit fingerprints shortly after a Los Angeles Times/ProPublica story revealed that dozens of convicted criminals had kept their licenses for years.
Dozens of nurses convicted of crimes, including sex offenses and attempted murder, have remained fully licensed to practice in California for years before the state nursing board acted against them. In some cases, nurses with felony records continue to have spotless licenses – even while serving time behind bars.
- Chart: California takes far longer to discipline registered nurses than many other large states, according to a review by the Los Angeles Times and ProPublica.
- Spencer Sullivan - In the prime of his life, Spencer Sullivan was rendered a quadriplegic. It took the nursing board more than six years later to revoke the license of a nurse involved in his care. Read more. | LA Times Audio Slideshow
- Caitlin Greenwell - Caitlin Greenwell’s family alleges that she suffers from cerberal palsy because nurses neglected to monitor her during her birth. LA Times Audio Slideshow
- Dr. Iraj Zandi – During a surgery, Dr. Iraj Zandi discovered that a nurse had stolen painkiller drugs intended for his patient. He found out later that the nurse had been accused of pilfering drugs from a previous employer. Read more.
- Veronica Glaubach – Veronica Glaubach’s nurses missed crucial signs of a life-threatening complication during and after childbirth, her family alleged. She died. The nursing board absolved the nurses. Read more.
We’ve written a guide to how we conducted our nurses investigation. Take a look for help in investigating your own state’s regulatory boards.