Doctors Battle Board of Nursing on Drug Issue

( The Florida Medical Association and two other doctors’ groups are in a legal fight with the state Board of Nursing about whether nurses should be able to sedate some patients.

An administrative law judge is expected to hear arguments next month in the case, which is part of a broader national debate about the administration of a drug that is commonly used when patients undergo procedures such as colonoscopies.

Arguing it is trying to protect patients and nurses, the Board of Nursing has proposed a rule that would largely prevent registered nurses and licensed-practical nurses from administering the drug known as propofol.

“We’re talking about having the nurses put in jeopardy their licenses because they lack the education and training that’s necessary to implement” orders from doctors to administer such drugs, said Jessie Colin, chairwoman of the Board of Nursing, during a March conference call in which panel moved forward with the rule.

But the doctors’ groups contend that only the Legislature, not the Board of Nursing, can approve such a limitation. Florida Medical Association General Counsel Jeff Scott said the board is trying to dictate to doctors how they should manage procedures such as sedating patients.

“The point is, you’ve got a group (the Board of Nursing) that is doing something they simply don’t have the authority to do,” Scott said.

The FMA, the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association and the Florida Podiatric Medical Association filed the case in late April in the state Division of Administrative Hearings.