JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – The Tennessee Board of Nursing took emergency licensing action this week against an area nurse who worked at six regional hospitals and admitted to stealing drugs at five of them. Before that decision, the board only took emergency action against two other nurses over the course of the last year in all of Tennessee.
State records show the Board of Nursing received a complaint in April about registered nurse Lorinda C. Davis diverting drugs while she worked at Tacoma Regional Hospital in Greeneville. Records show the state received another complaint just last month, this time alleging she was doing the same thing at Lakeway Regional Hospital in Morristown.
Within the last two months, records show Davis admitted to diverting drugs from Tacoma, Lakeway, East Tennessee Ambulatory Surgery Center, Holston Valley Medical Center and Sycamore Shoals Hospital over the last five years.
Records show she also worked at Johnson City Medical Center recently, but state records show the hospital suspended her once it learned she was under investigation.
The Board of Nursing suspended Davis’ license Wednesday.
Our Community Watchdog investigation found the state rarely takes that kind of emergency action and in some cases delays licensing action, which allows nurses to find new jobs.
Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner told us when nurses don’t admit to their diversion, it can take some time to build an adequate case of disciplinary action. One case we looked at took more than a year and another took more than two years. In both cases, the nurses voluntarily surrendered their licenses. One of them officially surrendered his Wednesday.
Following our questions, the Department of Health said it has taken steps to minimize future delays.
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