South Carolina Board of Nursing
A. General Information
The Board has the authority to investigate allegations of illegal, unethical and/or incompetent behavior on the part of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse and allegations that unlicensed persons are practicing in violation of Chapter 33, Title 40 and Regulations 91 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina.
Complaints can be filed with the Administrator, Director of the Legal and Disciplinary Department or other staff of the Legal and Disciplinary Department. An investigation is conducted by an investigator and a copy of the investigation is provided to the Board. The Board after review of the facts determines whether misconduct has occurred.
All information related to the complaint and investigation is privileged as provided in the Nurse Practice Act.
When an initial complaint is received in the office an official "Complaint Form" and "Release of Information Form" are mailed to the complainant by the Administrator or designee.
Complaints received are logged in and investigated as to their validity and concern for public safety. The Board can act as the complainant if necessary. Anonymous complaints are not investigated.
- When a complaint is received in the office, a letter is sent to the complainant and respondent. This letter informs the complainant and respondent that the complaint is assigned to an investigator who will be communicating with the complainant and respondent in the near future regarding an investigation of the complaint.
- All complaints are investigated fairly and thoroughly by the investigator.
- At the completion of the investigation a report is prepared and the complaint is brought before the Investigative Review Committee (IRC) made up of the investigators, Board attorney, staff as appropriate and two Board members. The complaint is reviewed in relation to the specific statutes which may have been violated. All complaints which may affect public health and safety are prioritized for investigation.
- The IRC makes a recommendation which may range from dismissal of the complaint to a formal hearing.
- The recommendations of the IRC are presented to the full Board who may choose to accept the presented recommendations, make it's own recommendations or request further investigation. At each step in the process the identity of the licensee remains privilege, and only when the Board issues a public decision does the name of the licensee become public record. If the Board determines that the complaint should be dismissed, both the complainant and the licensee against whom the complaint was made are notified of the dismissal.
If a formal hearing is recommended, a legal document setting forth the alleged misconduct is served upon the licensee against whom the complaint was made. A hearing is held pursuant to the South Carolina Administrative Procedures Act, Section 1-23-320 and 1-23-350 and the rules and regulations governing the Board.
The Board hearing process includes a formal hearing before a designated panel by the Board. The panel considers evidence, including witness testimony, presented to the panel by the Board attorney. At the same time, the licensee who has been charged with misconduct may be aided by his/her counsel, who presents the licensee's evidence for defense. After the hearing the panel considers the evidence and reaches a decision regarding the merits of the allegations. Their decision along with recommendations are presented to the full Board as a Final Order Hearing.
If the Board decides at the Final Order Hearing of the full Board that the licensee has engaged in illegal, unethical or incompetent actions, the Board will issue a final order which includes a statement regarding the Board's decision and disciplinary action/sanctions taken by the Board. All final orders are public records, except a dismissal (where no misconduct is found) or a private reprimand.
You may download the complaint form directly from the Internet or contact the Board office at:
S.C. Board of Nursing
P. O. Box 12367
Columbia, S.C. 29211-2367
Telephone: (803) 896-4550
Fax: (803) 896-4525