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How well does your state oversee nurses (and pharmacists, dentists, psychologists...)?

Nursing boards - and agencies that oversee such professionals as pharmacists, dentists and psychologists - do not get nearly enough scrutiny. These boards are charged with protecting consumers from unscrupulous or incompetent professionals, but some provide almost no public information about what they do or how they're run. They are sometimes led by ill-qualified political appointees and lack sufficient personnel. But should these boring bureaucracies fail; the implications for patients can be dire.

It's important to remember that nurses, not doctors, provide the bulk of the care patients receive in hospitals and nursing homes. Ensuring that regulators properly oversee nurses is crucial for ensuring quality patient care.

ProPublica's Tracy Weber offers suggestions for how to look into medical professionals and the boards that oversee them.

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