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December 27, 2009

To arrive at the statistical findings for this story, reporters checked the names of California's 350,000 registered nurses against a public, online version of a database run by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. That database, Nursys, includes reports from nearly three-fourth of states on disciplinary actions and the status of nurses' licenses.

The public version of Nursys, available at www.nursys.com, does not include RN disciplinary data from Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia.

There were thousands of California nurses whose names matched those of nurses disciplined in other states. Many were common names, but using public records, reporters established that at least 643 California nurses had been sanctioned elsewhere. Regulators could find more by using Social Security numbers.

latimes.com /nurses

More information, including an audio tape of Orphia Wilson's 911 call in 2005, interactive graphics and previous stories in this series are online. To read Wilson's disciplinary records and see a database of all out-of-state disciplinary actions taken against California nurses sanctioned since 2002, go to propublica.org/nurses.

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