As we all learned over the past several years, nursing can be an incredibly challenging yet rewarding career. Nurses often work long hours under difficult conditions. When a claim of misconduct arises, it can derail a nurse’s career.
Registered nurses, nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, and licensed vocational nurses are all regulated by their respective boards in the state of California. If a complaint is made about a nurse, it could result in disciplinary action, including suspension or even revocation of a nursing license. An experienced Riverside nursing license defense attorney can advocate for you and help you achieve a favorable outcome.
At the Law Offices of Nicole Irmer, we represent nurses throughout California who are facing disciplinary and licensing issues. In each case, we work hard to help our clients obtain an outcome that allows them to retain their licenses whenever possible. Reach out to our law firm to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.
Nurses in California fall under the jurisdiction of one of two boards: the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) and the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT). Each of these boards is responsible for regulating the practice of nursing in order to protect the public.
This mission involves several tasks, from setting education standards to approving nursing programs to evaluating, issuing, and renewing licenses and certifications. The BRN and the BVNPT will also take disciplinary action as necessary for violations of the Business and Professions Code.
Disciplinary actions typically begin with a complaint filed by anyone who believes that a licensed nurse has engaged in illegal activities or professional misconduct. A complaint may be filed by a patient, family member, colleague, supervisor, or another member of the public. If a nurse has been charged with a criminal offense, the board will typically receive a report from the appropriate law enforcement agency.
An investigator working for the board will be assigned to investigate the complaint. The investigator may be from the Board directly, or may be from the Department of Consumer Affairs. As part of this process, an investigator may reach out to a licensee to ask them to submit to an interview or answer questions. No matter how informal the request may seem, nurses should be aware that anything that they say to the investigator could ultimately be used against them in a disciplinary and/or criminal action. A skilled Riverside nursing license defense attorney can handle communications and requests for documents on your behalf.
Based on the outcome of the investigation, the board may close the file without filing a formal Accusation. They may also suggest nondisciplinary sanction, such as a citation and fine or warning. Otherwise, the matter will be forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General for evaluation for further action.
At this point, the board may file what is known as an Accusation, which sets out the facts of the allegations against the licensee and the basis for disciplinary action. The case may be resolved through a stipulated settlement, typically with the assistance of a Riverside healthcare license defense lawyer, or go to a hearing before an administrative law judge.
As discussed below, the disciplinary process can result in serious consequences for a nurse. For this reason, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after learning of criminal charges or a complaint against you. Our law office will get to work immediately to protect your license and your ability to earn a living.
BRN and BVNPT actions may be based on a number of potential violations of the Business and Professions Code, such as:
Depending on the outcome of the investigatory process, these types of complaints can result in a range of disciplinary actions, including:
For nurses dealing with chemical dependency or mental health issues, there is often an alternative to formal disciplinary action – an intervention program. While there are many possible benefits to intervention, there are also disadvantages. This includes harsh discipline if you fail to complete the program, strict oversight, and a period of time where the RN is not allowed to work.
While the consequences for a nursing board disciplinary action are severe, there is hope. An experienced Riverside nursing license defense lawyer can intervene early in the process to attempt to resolve the matter in a more favorable way, such as through a citation and fine or a public reprimand rather than a suspension or revocation. They will investigate the complaint, work with experts, and put together mitigating evidence.
Being accused of violating your professional responsibilities as a nurse can be devastating. Fortunately, it is possible to defend against allegations with the help of a compassionate Riverside nursing license defense lawyer. We will collaborate with you to develop a strong defense against any potential disciplinary actions.
The Law Offices of Nicole Irmer represent healthcare professionals, including nurses, in a range of licensing and disciplinary matters. For each case, our goal is to achieve an optimal outcome for our clients, whether that means negotiating a settlement, going to a hearing, or appealing the imposition of discipline. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a Riverside nursing license defense attorney, call our office at 619-237-6130 or fill out our online contact form.