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Statements Related to Lying, Fraud, Theft

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing in keeping with its mission to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, believes it is imperative to take a strong position regarding the licensure of individuals who have engaged in deception in the provision of health care. This deception includes falsifying documents related to licensure. The Board is also concerned about persons who have been convicted of a crime involving deception to the extent that such conduct may affect the ability to safely care for patients. The Board also takes a strong position regarding the licensure of individuals who have stolen or misappropriated property, money, or other possessions from patients, who have engaged in fraudulent behavior towards patients or who have been convicted or received a judicial order involving a crime or criminal behavior of theft or deception an extent that such conduct may affect the ability to safely care for patients.

The Board's position applies to all licensed nurses and licensed nursing assistants and applicants for licensure.

The Board adopts the following assumptions as the basis for its position

  • Critical care patients are particularly vulnerable given the level of vigilance demanded under the circumstances of their health condition.
  • Falsification of documents regarding patients care, failure to provide the care documented, or other acts of deception raise serious concerns whether the nurse will continue such behavior and jeopardize the effectiveness of patient care in the future.
  • Falsification of documents or deception/lying outside of the workplace, including falsification of an application for licensure to the Board, raises concerns about the person's propensity to lie, and the likelihood that such conduct will continue in the practice of nursing.
  • Falsification of employment applications and failing to answer specific questions that would have affected the decision to employ, certify, or otherwise utilize nursing personnel raises concerns about their propensity to lie questioning of honesty and integrity.
  • Honesty, accuracy and integrity are personal traits valued by the nursing profession, and considered imperative for the provision of safe and effective nursing care.
  • Nurses are frequently in situations where they must report patient condition, record objective/subjective information, provide patients with information, and report errors in the nurse's own practice or conduct.
  • Nursing personal frequently provide care in private homes and home-like settings where all of the patient's property and valuables are accessible to the nurse.
  • Nursing personal frequently provide care in settings without direct supervision.
  • Patients are vulnerable by virtue of illness or injury, and the dependent nature of the nurse-patient relationship.
  • Patients have the right to expect that the nurse will always accurately report patients conditions, signs and symptoms, and the care the nurse provided.
  • Persons who are especially vulnerable include the elderly, children, the mentally ill, sedated and anesthetized patients, those whose mental or cognitive ability is compromised and patients who are disabled or immobilized.
  • Patients frequently bring valuables {medications, money, jewelry, items of sentimental value, checkbook, or credit cards} with them to a health care facility.
  • Theft from a patient raises serious concerns whether the health care provider can be trusted to respect a patient's property/possessions in the future.

Theft or deception which occurs outside of the workplace, including conviction or a judicial order involving criminal behavior, may raise concerns as to whether the same misconduct will be repeated in the workplace and, therefore, place patients at risk for theft and deception.

The Board may rely solely on the conviction of crime or probation for a crime, with or without an adjudication of guilt, to deny, suspend, or revoke a license. A crime involving dishonesty is a crime of moral turpitude.

It should be noted that if a nurse or nursing assistant is imprisoned following a felony conviction, felony community supervision revocation, revocation of parole, or revocation of mandatory supervision for a crime involving lying or falsification, the Board may revoke the nurse's license, regardless of the conduct associated with or the circumstances surrounding the crime.

Each licensure form or document, whether it is an initial application, application by endorsement, or a renewal application, contains questions which require a "yes" or "no" answer. These forms contain several questions that might affect the ability of an individual to function safely . In addition, the Board asks the applicant, petitioner, or licensee to provide information to determine if he/she meets the practice requirements for licensure. Answers to these questions are used by the Board to determine the applicant's fitness for initial licensure/recognition in regards to conviction history, physical or mental condition, chemical dependency, and eligibility to renew licensure or gain initial licensure/recognition by endorsement related to meeting the continuing education [CE] and practice requirements.

The Board can understand that an applicant may mark a "yes" or "no" answer in error, or misunderstand the question being asked. The Board believes, however, that supplying false information in regards to eligibility requirements for licensure is a serious matter, not only because of the lying or falsification itself, but because those false answers would allow an otherwise disqualified applicant to be licensed. Proof of falsification on initial licensure is enough to establish the Board's right to revocation or denial of licensure.

Each case of falsifying an application for licensure will be considered on an individual basis. The investigative process will be used to determine whether the question was answered in error, misunderstood, or purposely answered falsely to deceive the Board Intentional falsification may result in denial of licensure or revocation of a license. The Board may show leniency towards an applicant for initial licensure because that person may be more likely to misunderstand the questions on the application. The Board believes that an applicant for renewal of licensure should understand the questions and the importance of answering them honestly. A pattern of falsification of information on an application for licensure will not be tolerated and is grounds for revocation.

Failure to cooperate during the course of a Board investigation by supplying false documents or failing to disclose information is grounds for denial or revocation of the license. Reckless disregard for the Nursing Practice Act, the Board's rules and regulations, and/or a Board Order is also grounds for denial or revocation and will require at a minimum, the imposition of a punitive fine in addition to other stipulations.

The Board has no jurisdiction over a person who does not have a license to practice as a nurse or LNA in the State of New Hampshire yet holds him or herself out to be a RN, LPN, LNA or APRN.

The Board believes that employers should verify licensure and thereby avoid hiring an imposter or allowing one to practice beyond his/her scope.

Failure to be accurate and honest while providing patient care and keeping accurate records related to care, is potentially harmful to the overall care patients receive because others who provide subsequent care do not have a complete and accurate picture of the client's care and/or condition.

A student nurse who falsifies patient records or engages in other dishonesty in patient care gives the Board reason to suspect that he or she will continue the same dishonest acts after licensure. If the Board is made aware of acts committed as a student, an investigation will be conducted once the student makes application for licensure.

A person who has been denied licensure, or whose license has been surrendered, suspended, or revoked has the right to petition the Board for reconsideration or reinstatement. The burden of proof that the person no longer poses a danger for deception, or other acts of deception remains with the petitioner.

Theft from a patient or engaging in fraudulent or deceitful behavior or conduct with or involving a patient is never acceptable. Theft of patient money, property, medicine, valuables, or items of sentimental value is ground for suspension or revocation of licensure. A license may be denied if the applicant engaged in theft while functioning in the role of a caregiver. The Board believes that employers have the responsibility to have safeguards in place to ensure that patients are not subjected to acts of fraud, theft, or deception.

[Portions of this policy adapted from the Oregon Board of Nursing Policy, 1999, with additions, deletions, and modifications]

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New Hampshire Board of Nursing
121 South Fruit Street   |  Concord, NH 03301
Nursing (603) 271-2323  |  Nursing Assistant (603) 271-6282
Fax (603) 271-6605