Washington Nursing Commission (NCQAC)
If someone has filed a nursing complaint against you in the state of Washington, give us a call for a free legal consultation, (503) 232-9280.
In the state of Washington, the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC), which is run through the Washington State Department of Health, oversees nurses.
The purpose of the NCQAC is to protect the safety and the health of the public by “regulating the competency and quality” of nurses, which includes LPNs, RNs, APNs, and nursing technicians.
Nursing violations in Washington fall into these three primary categories:
Unlicensed Practice By A Nurse – Practicing nursing without a valid Washington credential. This could include continuing to practice nursing on an expired nursing license.
Unprofessional Conduct By A Nurse – Conduct or acts by a nurse that are considered, by law, to be unprofessional.
Mental Or Physical Condition Of A Nurse – Any condition which would prevent a nurse from practicing with “reasonable skill and safety.”
In Washington, anyone who has knowledge of a nurse’s conduct can then file their complaint, this includes patients and their families and caregivers, as well as co-workers and employers of a nurse. There is no time limit or “statute of limitations” on filing complaints for nursing violations, which means that your nursing license could be at risk long after the incident took place.
Once someone files a complaint against a nurse, the Washington State Department of Health determines if there was a violation of law and the Department of Health has the legal authority to act. If so, it opens an investigation, and if there’s evidence to support a complaint against the nurse, it presents the case to the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC), which is one of fourteen boards and commissions in the state of Washington that can discipline healthcare providers.
According to Washington State law, sanctions that can be imposed on nurses can include the following:
•reprimand or censure
•requirement of completion of a specific program (typically related to education or treatment)
•monitoring of nursing practice by a supervisor approved by the NCQAC
•fine (up to $5,000 per violation)
•probation (with conditions) for a specified period of time
•restrictions on nursing practice
•license suspension (for a specified or indefinite period of time)
If you’ve been contacted by the NCQAC, it’s important to understand that this is the beginning of a legal process.
If you would like legal representation, we’d be honored to help. Kevin Keaney is an experienced nurse’s attorney, who also practiced as a nurse for more than 4 years.
Nurses attorney Kevin Keaney helps nurses in Texas, Oregon, and Washington defend their licenses. Our office is in Portland, Oregon.