CA begins emergency investigation of nurse criminal backgrounds

California regulators have announced plans to begin an investigation of the criminal backgrounds of all registered nurses in the state, following a newspaper report suggesting that dozens of nurses in the state still had their licenses despite multiple criminal convictions. Starting immediately, the state nursing board is asking all nurses who renew their licenses whether they have been convicted of any crimes in recent years. Nurses must renew their licenses every two years.

Under the new plans, the Board of Registered Nursing must also develop emergency regs to get fingerprints from all nurses licensed prior to 1990. While fingerprinting has been required for nurses licensed since that year, nurses licensed earlier (about 40 percent of all active nurses in the state) don't face such scrutiny.

Earlier this month, a local newspaper reported that it had found more than 115 cases since 2002 in which the nursing board failed to discipline nurses until they had three or more convictions, and 24 cases where nurses had five convictions.

To learn more about the state's new nurse investigation:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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