An investigation by a Virginia newspaper, the News Leader, showed startling deficiencies in the state’s handling of drug addicted nurses. The News Leader report, part of a longer investigative project, revealed that more than 900 nurses since 2007 have been publicly disciplined for drugs, and despite multiple nefarious actions by drug-addicted nurses, they often would not be caught due to employers failing to report the misconduct.
Virginia doesn’t run criminal background checks on nurses seeking a license to practice since the state doesn’t consider health care a “high-risk industry.” The state is one of only four that do not run background checks of nursing applicants. In December, state governor Terry McAuliffe announced support and funding for a background check requirement. The Virginia Senate voted 39-0 in favor of a bill requiring fingerprinting of nursing applicants, with passage in the House considered likely.