As a result of the work of many early nurse advocates, nursing has become a respected profession, governed by state practice acts and nurtured by professional associations. Yet many nursing professionals know less than they should about the rules and laws that govern their profession. Certainly, as nurses take on more responsibilities within the healthcare system, it is imperative that they know where to find information about their practice act and their scope of practice. They also must know what to do if a complaint is filed against them, what is involved when a nurse is disciplined, and what is considered incompetent or unethical practice.
In fiscal year 2014–2015, the Florida Board of Nursing adjudicated 95 disciplinary cases involving CNAs and 227 cases involving LPN/RN/ARNPs. In some cases, the Secretary of the Department of Health took emergency action to suspend or restrict the license of someone who posed “an immediate threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Florida.” Others voluntarily relinquished their licenses, and the remainder received a variety of penalties, including probation (4 CNAs, 11 LPN/RN/ARNPs), suspension (23 CNAs, 81 LPN/RN/ARNPs), and revocation (28 CNAs, 15 LPN/RN/ARNPs) (FBON, 2015).
What follows is a discussion of the laws and rules that govern nursing in Florida, including general laws and rules that regulate professions and occupations, information about the Florida Nurse Practice Act, and an outline of the powers and duties of the board of nursing. These laws and rules are contained in the Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code, all of which are available for viewing online.
The Florida Statutes
The Florida Statutes are a permanent collection of state laws organized by subject area into a code made up of titles, chapters, parts, and sections. The Florida Statutes are updated annually by laws that create, amend, transfer, or repeal statutory material.
General laws and rules that regulate professions and occupations in the state of Florida are contained in Title XXXII, Chapter 456 of the Florida Statutes.
Rules related to nursing in particular (including the nurse practice act), rules related to safe work practices, and rules that protect patients from unprofessional and unsafe nursing practice are contained in Title XXXII, Chapter 464 of the Florida Statutes. Chapter 464 has two parts: the Florida Nurse Practice Act and rules governing certified nursing assistants.
The Florida Administrative Code (FAC) is the official compilation of administrative rules and regulations promulgated by state regulatory agencies. State agencies receive rulemaking authority in the statutes that create them, and rules are filed with the Department of State, which oversees the publishing of the FAC and updates it weekly. Rules made by the Florida Board of Nursing to fulfill its legislative mandate as to organization, structure, and responsibility are contained in Chapters 64B9-1 to 64B9-17 of the FAC. (The Board of Nursing is part of the Department of Health, which is Department 64, and the Board of Nursing is Division 64B9). The complete text of FAC chapters applicable to the BON may be accessed here.
Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative Code
Title XXXII, Florida Statutes
Florida Administrative Code