Problem nurses stay on job in California as patients suffer

LA Times and ProPublica have done a major joint investigation to into the appalling lack of oversight at the California registered nurses board. Both sites have numerous articles on this, with some overlapping content, and different features as well.

I live in California. Apparently I really don’t want to be hospitalized here lest some psycho, incompetent nurse maim me while I’m there. Of course, this is just a few out of many dedicated nurses, but still, there’s a big problem here.

LA Times

After neck surgery in 2001 Spencer Sullivan received too much pain medication and was not monitored adequately, according to California Board of Registered Nursing records. He is now a quadriplegic.

The board didn’t revoke the license of the nurse until six years later.
Another nurse, male, was convicted violence against patients even after Kaiser warned the Nursing Board about him. They still did nothing for way too long.

One nurse given probation in 2005 missed 38 drug screens, tested positive for alcohol five times and was fired from a job before the board revoked his probation three years later.


days needed nurses

The board took more than three years, on average, to investigate and discipline errant nurses, according to its own statistics. In at least six other large states, the process typically takes a year or less.

Sue thinks this is probably due to the board being too nice and giving way too many chances. To which you can probably add, a comatose regulatory structure that badly needs a major overhaul.