Nurses: Hundreds punished by other states maintain California licenses

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The state’s Board of Registered Nursing has discovered that some 3,500 of its nurses have been punished for misconduct by other states — hundreds even had their licenses revoked — while maintaining clean licenses in California.

As many as 2,000 of these nurses now will face discipline in California, officials estimate. That’s more registered nurses than the state has sanctioned in the last four years combined.

The board’s discovery was prompted by a Times/ProPublica investigation last year that found hundreds of instances in which California nurses had been sanctioned elsewhere for sexual abuse, neglect, rampant drug use and criminality but could work freely in California.

The “massive” onslaught of new disciplinary cases is going to be “a very significant challenge,” said Paul Riches, a deputy director for the state Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the agencies that license and police health professionals.

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