Not so long ago the NLRB ruled that Nurses Allysha Shin (Almada) and Vicki Lin were wrongly terminated and determined in their decision that Huntington Memorial Hospital (HMH) was required to rehire and repay back wages. In the same decision the NLRB also allowed HMH to in essence “black ball” the same two nurses from ever working at any HMH facility.
The issue I had with the NLRB’s decision was that the NLRB appeared to be making a decision on whether or not HMH had the right to terminate a registered nurse for violating the nurse practice act and/hospital policy and protocols. It was the failure of the HMH RN’s to follow both our state’s nurse practice act and hospital policy and protocols that were the grounds that HMH argued that they fired the two RNs and not because of these two RN’s involvement in unionizing activities (The CNA was trying to unionize HMH; a fight that the CNA lost with 539 nurses voting no compared to 445 nurses voting yes with pretty much every single eligible nurse casting a ballot). The NLRB, which we all know are experts on how nurses should perform their duties, decided in favor of the two HMH RNs.
However, on March 2018 our California Board of Registered Nursing placed a Public Reproval on both Nurse Shin (Almada) and Lin’s licenses, which will remain in affect for three years. In both nurses’ document they agree as follows: “Respondent admits the truth of each and every charge and allegation in Accusation Respondent agrees that her Registered Nurse License is subject to discipline and she agrees to be bound by the Disciplinary Order below… ” (Allysha Almada-Final Vicki Lin – Final).
What I concluded from the outcome is simple: the NLRB had no place in deciding the original case since it applied to nursing practice. The NLRB has no expertise in judging whether a nurse has acted within his/her scope of practice or followed hospital policy and protocols. Perhaps in the future when confronted with such an issue where a nurse is terminated due to an alleged failure to conduct themselves within their scope of practice and said nurse has been reported to their licensing board for such behavior the NLRB should wait for said licensing board to conclude their investigation. If the licensing board finds that the nurse acted within their scope of practice and didn’t violate hospital policy or protocols – then the NLRB can step in and render their decision.
In the future the NLRB should stick to adjudicating labor issues and stay out of the business of licensing boards, such as the Board of Registered Nursing, whose mission is to decide whether or not a nurse has failed to adhere to his/her nurse practice act.