What to do When Served With a Board of Nursing Complaint Letter
You answer the door to be handed a certified letter from the board of nursing. You immediately feel fear rise up in your chest and you have no idea what to do next. First, do not call an attorney right away. We will explain later why you should wait to find a good attorney that will truly advocate for you. The first thing you should do is carefully read the letter and make notes. Note areas where the allegations are not true to fact. Make notes of any facts you can recall that support a defense against the allegations. And note how many days you have to respond. Keep your notes in a binder where you can continue to write down thoughts as the process unfolds.
For now do not communicate with the board in any fashion. You will be required to submit in writing a response to the allegations. You do want to respond and certainly respond in time. If you fail to answer the board, the charges may be entered as fact. You must however, respond without giving too much information to the board at this point. Nurses often look back at their initial answer to the nursing board and wish they had not said certain things. Things you may say before you see all the evidence may be used against you later. After you have carefully read your letter of complaint and made some notes then contact us for help with the next steps in navigating an action against your license.
You are welcome to call us any day including weekends. We understand that this is one of the most anxiety producing experiences in your life. We understand what you need is information and encouragement. You can be assured we know the process from start to finish and can assist you immediately. We strongly believe that attorney representation is necessary in defending your license. We make no attempt or claim to offer legal advice. We however, know the pitfalls of finding an attorney to represent you who understands the realities involved in the healthcare setting and who will be a true advocate for you. Not all attorneys are equal and sadly some attorneys are trying to walk a fine line between maintaining a good relationship with the board and advocating for clients.
Often the biggest problem nurses encounter with choosing an attorney is cost. Nurses may not be able to afford the attorney’s initial retainer fee of anywhere from approximately 3,000 to 10,000 dollars. The biggest concern with spending all you have at the beginning of your case is you might then not have any funds left for when you really need it. The potentially most expensive and critical time for you to provide an organized, robust defense is if your case goes to a State Office of Administrative Hearing. An administrative hearing is a trial. At administrative hearings the board will put on the stand paid experts to testify against you and they will have an entire team of attorneys to present the case against you.
At the onset of a board investigation most nurses cannot imagine their case will proceed all the way to an administrative hearing. Most nurses start out trusting that the board will be fair, timely and that there will be a reasonable conclusion to the matter. Unfortunately, this simply is not the case. A large percentage of contested cases against a nurse do go all the way to setting a date for an administrative hearing. And an administrative hearing can easily cost the nurse 10,000 to 30,000 dollars in attorney’s fees, and other costs. If the nurse has exhausted her funds and especially if she had been unable to secure employment because the complaint has been published by the board, the nurse will find themselves facing having to concede because they cannot afford to put on a good defense. This is where we can help.
Once you contact us you will be assigned a Nurse Case Manager and Nurse Attorney resources. We will help you understand the resources available to you through any malpractice insurance you hold. We will then help you draft a general letter of denial (if indicated) to answer the complaint letter. Our nurses have an average of twenty years of clinical practice and are either clinically active or well experienced as legal nurse consultants. One of our associates is a former nursing board investigator who consults on every case. After you send your response to the board, we will continue to be available to you to offer guidance and assistance in every phase of the disciplinary process. Our commitment is to you. We strive to give you dedicated service with understanding and compassion. We understand you need someone in your corner who can help you defeat a giant.