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RULE §217.12Unprofessional Conduct

The following unprofessional conduct rules are intended to protect clients and the public from incompetent, unethical, or illegal conduct of licensees. The purpose of these rules is to identify behaviors in the practice of nursing that are likely to deceive, defraud, or injure clients or the public. Actual injury to a client need not be established. These behaviors include but are not limited to:

  (1) Unsafe Practice--actions or conduct including, but not limited to:

    (A) Carelessly failing, repeatedly failing, or exhibiting an inability to perform vocational, registered, or advanced practice nursing in conformity with the standards of minimum acceptable level of nursing practice set out in Rule 217.11.

    (B) Failing to conform to generally accepted nursing standards in applicable practice settings;

    (C) Improper management of client records;

    (D) Delegating or assigning nursing functions or a prescribed health function when the delegation or assignment could reasonably be expected to result in unsafe or ineffective client care;

    (E) Accepting the assignment of nursing functions or a prescribed health function when the acceptance of the assignment could be reasonably expected to result in unsafe or ineffective client care;

    (F) Failing to supervise the performance of tasks by any individual working pursuant to the nurse's delegation or assignment; or

    (G) Failure of a clinical nursing instructor to adequately supervise or to assure adequate supervision of student experiences

  (2) Failure of a chief administrative nurse to follow standards and guidelines required by federal or state law or regulation or by facility policy in providing oversight of the nursing organization and nursing services for which the nurse is administratively responsible.

  (3) Failure to practice within a modified scope of practice or with the required accommodations, as specified by the Board in granting an encumbered license or any stipulated agreement with the Board.

  (4) Conduct that may endanger a client's life, health, or safety.

  (5) Inability to Practice Safely--demonstration of actual or potential inability to practice nursing with reasonable skill and safety to clients by reason of illness, use of alcohol, drugs, chemicals, or any other mood-altering substances, or as a result of any mental or physical condition.

  (6) Misconduct--actions or conduct that include, but are not limited to:

    (A) Falsifying reports, client documentation, agency records or other documents;

    (B) Failing to cooperate with a lawful investigation conducted by the Board;

    (C) Causing or permitting physical, emotional or verbal abuse or injury or neglect to the client or the public, or failing to report same to the employer, appropriate legal authority and/or licensing board;

    (D) Violating professional boundaries of the nurse/client relationship including but not limited to physical, sexual, emotional or financial exploitation of the client or the client's significant other(s);

    (E) Engaging in sexual conduct with a client, touching a client in a sexual manner, requesting or offering sexual favors, or language or behavior suggestive of the same;

    (F) Threatening or violent behavior in the workplace;

    (G) Misappropriating, in connection with the practice of nursing, anything of value or benefit, including but not limited to, any property, real or personal of the client, employer, or any other person or entity, or failing to take precautions to prevent such misappropriation;

    (H) Providing information which was false, deceptive, or misleading in connection with the practice of nursing;

    (I) Failing to answer specific questions or providing false or misleading answers in a licensure or employment matter that could reasonably affect the decision to license, employ, certify or otherwise utilize a nurse; or

    (J) Offering, giving, soliciting, or receiving or agreeing to receive, directly or indirectly, any fee or other consideration to or from a third party for the referral of a client in connection with the performance of professional services.

  (7) Failure to repay a guaranteed student loan, as provided in the Texas Education Code §57.491, or pay child support payments as required by the Texas Family Code §232.001, et seq.

  (8) Drug Diversion--diversion or attempts to divert drugs or controlled substances.

  (9) Dismissal from a board-approved peer assistance program for noncompliance and referral by that program to the Board.

  (10) Other Drug Related--actions or conduct that include, but are not limited to:

    (A) Use of any controlled substance or any drug, prescribed or unprescribed, or device or alcoholic beverages while on duty or on call and to the extent that such use may impair the nurse's ability to safely conduct to the public the practice authorized by the nurse's license;

    (B) Falsification of or making incorrect, inconsistent, or unintelligible entries in any agency, client, or other record pertaining to drugs or controlled substances;

    (C) Failing to follow the policy and procedure in place for the wastage of medications at the facility where the nurse was employed or working at the time of the incident(s);

    (D) A positive drug screen for which there is no lawful prescription; or

    (E) Obtaining or attempting to obtain or deliver medication(s) through means of misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception and/or subterfuge.

  (11) Unlawful Practice--actions or conduct that include, but are not limited to:

    (A) Knowingly aiding, assisting, advising, or allowing an unlicensed person to engage in the unlawful practice of vocational, registered or advanced practice nursing;

    (B) Violating an order of the Board, or carelessly or repetitively violating a state or federal law relating to the practice of vocational, registered or advanced practice nursing, or violating a state or federal narcotics or controlled substance law;

    (C) Aiding, assisting, advising, or allowing a nurse under Board Order to violate the conditions set forth in the Order; or

    (D) Failing to report violations of the Nursing Practice Act and/or the Board's rules and regulations.

  (12) Leaving a nursing assignment, including a supervisory assignment, without notifying the appropriate personnel.

Source Note: The provisions of this §217.12 adopted to be effective September 28, 2004, 29 TexReg 9192; amended to be effective February 25, 2018, 43 TexReg 1098

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