Defending Your Nursing License
Author Darlene Nelson, RN
When you are first notified of a complaint that has been made to the board of nursing against you, you will receive a letter from the board. This letter will be deliberately non-specific, lacking in factual information. The letter is essentially a fishing expedition by the board of nursing. You will be required to respond to the board’s letter in a short period of time. The nursing board is likely to use information in your reply against you. This is why it is usually in your best interest to only submit a general denial. In representing yourself with the assistance of a nurse consultant, you can then communicate with the board investigator and directly question them as to their basis for charges. You want to obtain information without giving away too much information that could later be used against you.
Boards of nursing will often, throughout your case, manipulate information and the facts to fit their theory of the case. Innocence before guilt is not assumed and the board does not have the burden of proof, you do. Boards of nursing do not use a standard of clear and convincing evidence. Instead, they develop a theory of what they believe more likely than not happened. This of course involves conjecture, and bias and does not support a just process. Board of nursing charges tend to also evolve over time. Nurses frequently receive amended charges just days before informal and formal proceedings. Charges will be extended upon to up the ante and pressure on you. It is imperative that you insist on sufficient time to review the new charges before defending yourself against board of nursing charges at a hearing or trial. Just as withholding discovery until just days before your hearing is a strategy, so is presenting you with suddenly expanded upon charges or disciplinary threats.
Effectively responding to charges requires careful review of the evidence including all pertinent medical records. The nurse needs as much information as possible. The board of nursing will not volunteer information though they must answer your request for evidence, and they must answer questions. To obtain information regarding what the board of nursing's theory of your guilt is, you need to be able to have a two-way conversation with the investigator. You however, are prohibited from talking to any board staff member if you have retained an attorney. And no one can question and seek information from the board of nursing investigator better than you.
Our Nurse Consultants will carefully review all the evidence and facts. We will draft a general denial letter for you to approve. After obtaining sufficient information and discovery we will again carefully review the case with you. We will then draft with you a letter of response with specific evidence as to how specific rules, regulations and such board publications as the Scope of Practice statements, were in fact adhered to. When necessary we will support your defense with the evidenced based literature. Our Nurse Consultants have many years of testifying in nursing, malpractice civil cases. They know how to put on a strong defense based on the evidence and application of the nurse practice act and relevant standards of practice. The Nurse Consultant assigned as your Case Manager will have well developed, exceptional skill and competency in performing case reviews. Our Nurse Consultants are experienced at presenting at hearings and trial as professional, convincing experts.