Patient Abandonment ~ Texas Board Of Nursing (BON)


If you have questions about a patient abandonment issue or have been contacted by the nursing board, call to schedule a free legal consultation with a nursing license defense attorney, (512) 829-5619. Note that the free consultation is ONLY for professional licensing matters.

Nurses have a duty to patients, and one of the roles of the Texas Board Of Nursing (BON) is to look out for the health, safety, and welfare of patients.

When it comes to “patient abandonment,” the line between employment issues and patient issues isn’t always crystal-clear, but if the board believes that a nurse has violated a duty to a patient, that becomes a potential nursing license issue.

If anyone makes a complaint against a nurse, including for patient abandonment, the BON reviews the complaint and opens an investigation if the complaint falls within its jurisdiction, contains enough information, and isn’t considered a “minor incident.” If, however, it’s obvious that the allegation against a nurse is an employment issue, it won’t be investigated by the board.

Examples of patient abandonment include:

  • a nurse walking off the job during a shift and not notifying anyone
  • a nurse sleeping on the job
  • a nurse not showing up for an assignment when he/she is the sole care provider (e.g. in a patient’s home)
  • a nurse leaving an assigned patient care area for a period of time that could compromise patient care

When the nursing board is investigating a patient abandonment complaint against a nurse for leaving an assignment, it will factor in:

  • any harm that came from the patient abandonment
  • the stability of the patient who was abandoned
  • the dependency or disability of the patient who was abandoned
  • efforts taken by the nurse who abandoned the patient to notify a supervisor
  • previous incidences when the nurse might have left other patient-care assignments
  • an emergency in the healthcare setting that might have required the nurse to leave a patient-care assignment

If you’ve had a complaint filed against you for patient abandonment (or are concerned that someone could contact the nursing board), please reach out to us. We help nurses in Texas with all types of nursing license defense issues, including patient abandonment, patient abuse or neglect, and unprofessional conduct.

For more information about a patient abandonment issue, or to schedule a free consultation with a nurses attorney, please call (512) 829-5619. Note that the free consultation is ONLY for professional licensing matters.

Please note: Kevin Keaney has more than 30 years experience as an attorney and is a member of The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA). Before becoming an attorney, Kevin earned his BSN from the University of Texas at Austin and worked as a nurse for four years.

Our law firm is in the Austin area, and we help nurses from all across Texas, including: San Antonio, El Paso, Dallas, Houston, Amarillo, and Lubbock.