Our last blog post looked at nursing standard of care violations and the breadth that they cover in the nursing profession. This week, let’s briefly look at the complaint and disciplinary process, as well as what you can do to defend yourself in administrative proceedings pertaining to your license.
Complaint and Disciplinary Process
Anyone who believes that a nurse has engaged in actions that violate the standards of care can file a complaint with the Board of Registered Nursing. At that time, the Board will review the complaint and investigate it if the allegations, if true, would constitute a violation of the Nursing Practice Act. If after an investigation the Board determines that the allegations are substantiated, then formal disciplinary proceedings will be initiated. Once you receive notice that a formal accusation has been made against you, you need to make sure that you file a notice of defense in a quick fashion.
During an administrative proceeding to address whether disciplinary action is warranted, the Board will assess a number of factors. Amongst them are:
- The severity of the actions
- The harm caused to the patient, if any
- Any history of prior discipline
- Any history of prior standard of care violations
- Any existing criminal record
- Any mitigating factors
Remember, you still have power during these proceedings. You have the ability to stipulate to disciplinary action, if you feel that doing so is in your best interests, or you can try to present as much evidence as possible to convince an administrative law judge that your discipline should be light.
Defending against a standard of care complaint
The best way to defend yourself, though, is to be proactive once a complaint has been filed against you. That’s why it’s oftentimes best to secure legal assistance in these matters from the get-go. Don’t assume that doing so will make you look guilty. It won’t. Instead, having an attorney on your side can help you work with investigators to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident in question to show that a simple mistake was made that didn’t rise to the level of a standard of care violation. Evidence of mitigating factors and corrective rehabilitative action on your part can go a long way, too.
Protect your nursing license
There’s a lot at stake in your case. That’s why you can’t sit back and wait to see what will happen. If you do so, then you could end up facing swift disciplinary action that includes license suspension or revocation. As scary as that may sound, you should take comfort knowing that aggressive attorneys like those at our firm stand ready to help you fight to protect your interests and your future. If you’d like to learn more about what our firm has to offer, then please continue to read our blog and the rest of our website.