By Brenne Meirowitz
Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA registration means you must be registered in the state nursing board databases, as well as the Federal database – HIPDB (Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank). This information is compiled and administered by the NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing), a non-profit organization, which operates as a collective national nursing board comprised of 60 Member Boards.
Board members include one in all fifty states, Washington, D.C., and all U.S. territories. Founded in 1978, organizers recognized the need to regulate nurses apart from organizations representing professional nurses.
One of the responsibilities of the NCSBN is to inform and enforce a set of nursing standards, and keeping the Nursing Assistive Personnel Registry up-to-date. Licensees in this database include Certified Nursing Assistant I (CNA), Certified Nursing Assistant II (CNA-II), and Medication Assistant-Certified (MA-C). The NCSBN operates as a national watchdog, coordinating issues of discipline, education, and certification. Information, such as disciplinary action taken against a nurse by a state board is shared with the NCSBN, which compiles this information, providing background resources for discipline issues and actions taken.
Once a complaint is filed against a Certified Nursing Assistant, he or she may become subject to investigation, which may lead to an informal conference and when necessary a formal hearing. Actions addressing the issue of complaint might include simply the re-educating the nurse or restricting their practice – each one carrying certain probationary conditions. When necessary, a nurse can have their license revoked. All disciplinary actions become public record. Additionally, any nurse holding a criminal conviction substantially related to the functions of their work is obligated to report this to the board. The board will then determine if the offender’s license warrants revocation. In most cases, applicants convicted of a criminal offense are not eligible for certification. The NCSBN requires that all 60 Member Boards update their listings of licensees in the registry on a biennial basis.
In addition to the NCSBN’s database of nurse licensees, Federal regulations are also in place to help combat fraud and abuse both in the health insurance industry and the health care delivery system. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which led to the creation of the HIPDB (Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank) – a Federal tracking system providing information, such as employment history, affiliation, certification, or licensure decisions was put into law. The NCSBN now uses the Nursys® database, which keeps track of all nurse disciplinary actions.
According to the NCSBN’s 8.4 Standards for Assistive Personnel, Certified Nursing Assistants I are bound by law to conform to the following standards:
- Performs nursing tasks and functions within the range of functions authorized in the Nurse Practice Act and rules governing nursing.
- Demonstrates honesty and integrity in performing nursing tasks/functions/activities
- Bases nursing tasks/functions/activities on education, training and the direction of the supervising nurse.
- Accepts accountability for one’s behavior and actions while assisting the nurse and providing services to patients.
- Performs delegated aspects patient’s nursing care.
- Assists in observing patients and identifying patient needs.
- Communicates progress toward completing delegated nursing tasks/functions/abilities, as well as any problems or changes in a patient’s status.
- Seeks clarification if unsure of expectations.
- Uses educational and training opportunities as available.
- Takes preventive measures to protect client, others and self.
- Respects client’s rights, concerns, decisions and dignity.
- Functions as a member of the health care team, contributing to the implementation of an integrated health care plan.
- Respects client property and the property of others.
- Protects confidential information unless obligated by law to disclose the information.
Furthermore, employers that deliberately or irresponsibly ignore board protocol and standards, such as expanding the range of functions of a Certified Nursing Assistant are subject to disciplinary action. As with disciplinary actions against individual nurses, institution violations are recorded into the various public health databases, such as the HIPDB.