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The top reasons why you must run Registered Nurses through the database with the NPDB.

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Given the stringent regulatory environment and the risk of endangering patients, healthcare organizations are being cautious about who they hire. Unsurprisingly, background checks have become a standard practice for many hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations. However, one type of screening has recently gained popularity among hospital administrators: checking potential employees through the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). This article explains why you must run RNs through the database with their NPDB.



a nurse dressed as the joker walks down hallway medical instrument


What is the National Practitioner Data Bank?

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) database collects information about healthcare practitioners who have been sanctioned or had disciplinary actions taken against them. Practitioners include physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and anyone licensed or certified to provide medical care. The information in the NPDB is gathered from state licensing boards, courts and other organizations that have taken disciplinary action against healthcare providers. If you run Registered Nurses through the NPDB, you will have access to important information such as: - Whether they have been disciplined, fired or have voluntarily left a position - The reason for the disciplinary action and the outcome of the case - Whether they have been suspended and for how long - Whether they have been put on probation - The number of malpractice claims they have had - Whether they have been criminally charged with a felony or misdemeanor.


Why you should run RNs through the NPDB.

As mentioned above, the NPDB is a public information repository on health care practitioners. The database helps healthcare organizations avoid hiring registered nurses who have a history of discipline, criminal convictions or other types of adverse actions against their licenses. Given that healthcare organizations must be diligent about hiring qualified and competent staff, there are a few reasons why you should run RNs through the NPDB. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations are expected to provide high-quality patient care. If you hire registered nurses who have been disciplined, fired, or found guilty of a crime, their work could endanger patients. Running RNs through the NPDB is a way to ensure that you hire qualified and competent healthcare providers. Doing so will help maintain the quality of care that your organization is known for.


Pros of running RNs through the NPDB.

As mentioned above, there are several reasons why you should run RNs through the NPDB. Some of the major advantages include: - Saving time and effort - When you run a background check, you don’t need to follow up with each state where the RN has been licensed. Instead, you can use the NPDB to pull information from each state. - Avoiding hiring registered nurses with a history of adverse actions - The NPDB contains information about registered nurses who have been disciplined or had their license revoked. This information can help you avoid hiring these individuals. - Avoiding hiring registered nurses who have a history of criminal convictions - A criminal background check could miss certain convictions. The NPDB will not miss these convictions, and it will provide more information about them. - Avoiding hiring registered nurses who have been put on probation - Registered nurses on probation are required to report their activities to their state board. By running the RNs through the NPDB, you can find out about these activities and avoid hiring them. - Avoid hiring registered nurses who have a history of malpractice claims - Running RNs through the NPDB will provide information about these claims. This information can help you avoid hiring RNs with a history of malpractice.


Cons of running RNs through the NPDB.

As there are advantages of running RNs through the NPDB, there are also disadvantages of doing so. Some of the major disadvantages include: - Limiting the pool of qualified registered nurses - Many of the adverse actions against a license are temporary and don’t affect the nurse’s ability to provide patient care. Running RNs through the NPDB will prevent you from hiring these nurses. Running RNs through the NPDB could reduce the number of qualified nurses who are interested in working for your organization. - Limiting your ability to hire foreign nurses - Even though the NPDB is accessible to organizations outside the U.S. (including hospitals in Canada), some of the information on the database may not be relevant in your jurisdiction. Running foreign RNs through the NPDB may result in irrelevant information that unnecessarily restricts your hiring options. - Creating an unfair hiring process - If you run all applicants through the NPDB, you could end up discriminating against older nurses who have been disciplined in the past.



How to run Registered Nurses through the NPDB?

There are 2 ways you can run RNs through the NPDB. The first way is manually searching for the RNs in the NPDB database. The second way is using a background check service that will automatically submit the RNs to the NPDB. Manual search - If you are conducting a manual search, you will need to know the RN's name and state license number. If you know the RN's name and state, you can search the NPDB online. If you only have the state that the RN is licensed in, you’ll need to contact the state board of nursing and ask them to submit the RN to the NPDB. Manual submission - If you manually submit the RNs to the NPDB, ensure you have the following information: - Name of the RN - You’ll need their legal name. - State license number - You’ll need the number recorded on their license. - Date of birth - You’ll need the RN’s date of birth. Manual submission - You can also manually submit the information to the NPDB. However, it’s recommended that you do so only in situations where the date of birth is unknown. You’ll need to enter the following information: - Legal name of the RN - You’ll need their legal name. - State license number - You’ll need the number on their license. - Date of birth - You’ll need the RN’s date of birth. Manual submission - After submitting this information, remember to check back with the NPDB to see if the RN has been added to the database. Manual submission - If you need assistance with submitting the RNs to the NPDB, you can consult a background check company. These companies can submit the RNs to the NPDB on your behalf and provide you with the information. Manual submission - If you choose to manually submit information to the NPDB, be aware that it could take a while for the RN to appear on the database.



Conclusion

There are many reasons why healthcare organizations should run RNs through the NPDB. Doing so will give you access to important information such as whether the RN has been disciplined, fired, or voluntarily left a position and the reason for the disciplinary action. Running RNs through the NPDB will help you avoid hiring registered nurses who have a history of adverse actions against their license and criminal convictions. Running RNs through the NPDB is a great way to ensure that you hire qualified and competent healthcare providers.

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