The Bartow County deputy noticed a few things right off. First, of course, the woman in the parked BMW was injecting something into her arm from a small bottle.
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The Georgia Board of Nursing takes years to process disciplinary complaints against nurses, but not every state struggles so much.
North Carolina, for example, is a model state by comparison.
The states regulate a similar number of nurses, but while cases take 15 months or longer to be resolved in Georgia, the North Carolina Board of Nursing resolves narcotics complaints against nurses in about four months and malpractice cases within 45 days.
Why the difference?
The North Carolina board has a $7.3 million budget, paid by nurse licensing fees. Georgia’s nursing board limps along on a budget of $2 million.
The Georgia board has a dedicated staff of eight people and shares investigators with other state boards that license hairdressers, sports agents and other professions. The North Carolina board has a staff of 50, including eight full-time investigators, five of whom are registered nurses.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in July that the state nursing board usually takes more than a year, and sometimes much longer, to investigate complaints against nurses. After that the governor intervened in the controversy and a House committee convened a special hearing. But in the months since, the AJC finds that little has actually changed.