Our view • Public health and safety is the primary concern

We wish to respond to your account of nursing regulation that ran March 7 and March 10 (Nursing chaos, Who's watching?). The Oregon State Board of Nursing's purpose is to protect the public, and all members of the board Ñ nurses and public members Ñ take this responsibility very seriously.

The board collaborates with many state agencies and stakeholders on numerous cases and will continue to do so. It welcomes the opportunity to discuss its programs and procedures with interested parties. The article's use of a 10-year-old case as an example of current policy is misleading and a disservice to the public.

We understand that differing philosophies exist concerning how health care providers with substance addictions should be handled. The foundation of the board's nurse monitoring program is that substance abuse is treatable and that it is in the best interest of the public to have early detection, treatment, monitoring and the return of the nurse to competent nursing practice.

The article said the board would not discuss investigatory information. State law prohibits the board from discussing investigatory information and the article takes advantage of our inability to discuss details and timelines of cases.

It is impossible to provide the public with an adequate response to these articles in this limited forum. We invite those desiring a fuller response to visit our Web site at

Sandy Theis is president and Joan Bouchard is executive director of the Oregon State Board of Nursing.

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