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Georgia Board of Nursing
I appreciated the opportunity to meet with members of the nursing profession as well as representatives of several professional associations at the Capitol last week. During our meeting, concerns were raised regarding the staff change I am making at the Professional Licensing Boards Division (PLB) in Macon, specifically, replacing Jim Cleghorn with Andrew Turnage as the Executive Director for the Georgia Board of Nursing. Please scroll down to see a letter from Board President, Brenda Rowe, as well as a letter outlining my transition plan.
I understand and appreciate the concerns that were raised. No one values the importance of the nursing profession more than I do. I see and hear of nurses’ good work around our state daily as Secretary of State. However, please keep in mind that I am not making this change to keep the status quo, but to forge ahead in the progress we have made with licensing nurses.
To ensure that this transition is successful, I am adjusting the staff at PLB to allow Mr. Turnage and Mr. Cleghorn to work together over the next six months so that any specialized knowledge will be passed to the new executive director. I am confident that this transition will be seamless for Georgia’s nurses.
Many have asked why I am doing this at all. The answer is simple. As in any business, our office experiences turnover among employees. It is not responsible governing for me to allow only one employee to be knowledgeable about nurse licensing and complaint processing. I cannot control circumstances where an employee decides to take another job, becomes seriously ill, or has another situation arise where they are no longer able to serve as an executive director in the agency. By regularly shifting executive directors to new and different boards, I can ensure that my staff is ready for the unexpected.
This type of transition occurs regularly at PLB. Since I have been in office, five executive directors have switched board responsibilities in order to cross-train. These changes affected over thirty boards with no negative impacts. In fact, because of these changes, we have seen positive growth through the development of better processes at PLB while increasing institutional knowledge among staff. It is now time to bring those good developments to the Georgia Board of Nursing.
Some have raised concerns that an executive director for cosmetologists and barbers cannot make the leap to serving the Georgia Board of Nursing. This view mistakes the role of a board’s executive director.
Executive directors are administrative professionals. They do not make policy, and they do not act on any matter outside the board’s direction. Mr. Cleghorn is not licensed as a nurse. In fact, no current executive directors are licensed in any of the professions they assist. Executive directors manage the staff and workflow for licensing boards. They schedule board hearings, compile reports, assist constituents, maintain records, and serve as a liaison to PLB staff.
Because of this, executive directors must be experts in administration, not in the profession they assist. For example, the executive director for engineering does not need to know how to design and build a building in order to assist the board with licensing complaints. That is not to say that an executive director does not need any specialized knowledge, but merely that the specialized knowledge they must possess is related directly to the actions they take assisting the boards with licensing, complaints, and compliance.
This is how the Secretary of State’s office can improve on current practice. Mr. Turnage was the director of the agency’s intake department before working with specific licensing groups. It was his job to improve wait times by streamlining workflow. He did this with exceptional success and has become one of PLB’s top-performing employees among 150 that work with 40 different licensing boards. While learning about the specific licensing needs for nurses, he can bring new ideas and processes to the board that will help it excel even more.
Further, it is not as though he will have to go it alone. The current staff of twenty-nine individuals including licensure analysts, complaint and compliance analysts, call center agents, investigators, and administrative support will remain in place. They, along with Mr. Cleghorn, will support Mr. Turnage. In addition, both Mr. Turnage and Mr. Cleghorn will continue to work together every day as a fellow executive directors at PLB.
I have always emphasized the necessity for in-depth initial training and subsequent cross-training of administrative staff, and I strongly encourage regular information-sharing between employees. As a result of my leadership, we have seen substantial improvements in all of our processes within PLB. I am confident that this change will further assist in yielding positive results with the Georgia Board of Nursing.
If you have any questions or concerns about points I have raised here, please let me or my staff know. We understand your concern and want to work with you to ensure Georgia is the best state for professionals to live and work.
Brian P. Kemp
Secretary of State
Are you a registered nurse whose license expires January 31, 2017 or licensed practical nurse whose license expires March 31, 2017? Have you completed one of the required continuing competency options required by Georgia law? Detailed information regarding the continuing competency requirements for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses is available here.
Graduates of Georgia nursing education programs may view detailed instructions regarding the online application process and access the online application for licensure by examination by clicking here.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (“APRN”) are an integral part of the health care delivery system in the United States. The Georgia Board of Nursing (“Board”) recognizes the contributions that these practitioners make and understands the challenges that APRNs may face when attempting to comply with state and federal laws as well as facility regulations. Click here for more information regarding APRNs practicing in Veterans Administration facilities.
E-Notify is now available in Georgia! Nursys E-Notify is a free and innovative nurse licensure notification system that allows you to receive real-time email notifications about nurses that you employ. The system provides publicly available discipline data directly to you automatically as the data is entered into the Nursys database without you needing to proactively seek the information. Click here for more information!