Wilson v. Department of Public Health
The Board of Examiners for Nursing can order a registered nurse to engage in therapy and to obtain the board's approval, prior to accepting another job. The board found the following facts. In December 2010, the police arrested the plaintiff, Linette Wilson, for allegedly driving under the influence. Allegedly, Wilson previously had been arrested in 2009 for driving under the influence. After the December 2010 arrest, Wilson underwent individual and group counseling and tested negative for use of alcohol. A psychiatrist opined that Wilson, a registered nurse, was competent to work as a nurse. The Department of Public Health placed Wilson on probation and ordered that, during the one-year probation period, she continue to engage in therapy, obtain the approval of the department, prior to accepting another job and provide the department's decision to any prospective employers. The board ordered that Wilson's immediate supervisor submit quarterly reports that document she is capable of practicing nursing safely and competently. The board ordered that Wilson's therapist submit monthly reports that evaluate her progress and ability to practice nursing. The plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court. Substantial evidence in the record supported the board's conclusion that the plaintiff was impaired as a result of use of alcohol. Although Wilson claimed that the discipline was overly harsh, and effectively barred her from working as a nurse, the board did not exceed its authority when it sanctioned the plaintiff. There was no evidence that the board's decision affected the plaintiff's employment. The plaintiff conceded that she intended to continue therapy anyway, regardless of the board's order to continue, and that she has been working in marketing and sales. The board's decision was not arbitrary, illegal or an abuse of discretion, and the court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal.