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Hi, Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. Patient abuse can be prosecuted as an assault or under the following statute: 5 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-38-217(1)(c), (f), and (h) provides as follows that the board has the power to revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew any license or to place on probation a licensee upon proof that such person: (c) Has negligently or willfully acted in a manner inconsistent with the health or safety of persons under his care; (f) Has negligently or willfully performed nursing services in a manner which fails to meet generally accepted standards for such nursing services; (h) Has falsified or in a repeatedly negligent manner made incorrect entries or failed to make essential entries on essential patient records. The phrase "generally accepted standards" is a common legal concept that refers to norms of conduct applicable to similar persons in like circumstances. In the case of a medical Expert, such as a nurse, compliance with "generally accepted standards" requires the person to exercise that degree of knowledge, skill, and care exercised by other like Experts in the same or a similar community. From what I understand from your statement, you did not actually force the tube through the nose, you only spoke about it, in what seems to be a joking manner. It was neither a threat nor an attempt to abuse the patient. As that is the case, unless some other facts arise that are not in your statement here, it is unlikely that you could have your license revoked. However, there could be some sort of disciplinary action taken potentially. That the administrator told you that you would be arrested is ridiculous and abusive in and of itself. You are not going to be arrested for making a light hearted comment about past medical practice procedures. However, you should expect that a full investigation will be conducted. It makes sense that an investigation needs to go forward on any sort of allegation of patient abuse. This is to protect the hospital and the patient. Nevertheless, the threat of criminal prosecution by the hospital brings up your rights to get a lawyer to attend all investigative hearings with you and to assert advise you on your fifth amendment rights. You do not have to ever admit to doing any kind of thing that might be considered criminal. I don't think you did anything, but if a prosecutorial investigator were trying to make you say something to implicate yourself in criminal behavior, you have the right to not answer the question. If you have the means you might want to contact a local criminal defense attorney and see about hiring him/her to accompany you to an sort of investigative hearing with the hospital or the state nursing board. But you can relax and stop worrying about being arrested. I think you should cooperate with the investigation and be prepared to answer questions if asked. I also think it would be wise to make some inquiries on how long the investigation will go on so that you will know how much longer you are going to be on administrative leave. If it is for too long, it might be in your best interests to submit your letter of resignation and take the alternative job you found.
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