It has never been more apparent that nursing is truly hard work. In the wake of COVID-19, California faces a particularly severe nursing shortage. This reality only makes the job of being a nurse that much harder, as healthcare professionals are forced to deal with much higher levels of work and stress.
When a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, advanced practice nurse, or licensed vocational nurse faces allegations of misconduct, it can be devastating to their career. Nurse licensing Boards are tasked with not only regulating the practice of nursing in California but enforcing any disciplinary violations. Any substantiated complaint against a nurse can result in serious consequences, up to a suspension or revocation of a nursing license. A seasoned San Bernardino nursing license defense attorney will stand by your side to try and help you achieve the best possible outcome.
The Law Offices of Nicole Irmer advocates for nurses throughout California who are dealing with issues related to their nursing license. Our goal for each of our clients is to help them obtain a result that allows them to continue to work and maintain their license. If a complaint has been filed against you, call our law firm to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.
In California, the practice of nursing is governed by two separate Boards: the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) and the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT). These Boards are tasked with protecting the public by regulating and enforcing the practice of nursing, including licensure and discipline.
Disciplinary actions are based on an allegation that a licensee violated the Nurse Practice Act in some way. They often begin with a complaint filed by a patient, family member, coworker, supervisor, insurance company, or any member of the public. Alternatively, if a nurse has been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, the BRN or the BVNPT will receive a referral for disciplinary action from law enforcement.
Once a complaint has been received, a Board or Department of Consumer Affairs investigator will be assigned to the case. In many cases, this investigator will reach out directly to a licensee and ask them to be interviewed, sign the paperwork, or answer some questions. All nurses should understand that anything they say to an investigator could be used against them in a disciplinary action or criminal matter. You should consult with an experienced San Bernadino nursing license defense attornery before speaking with a to a Board investigator about a complaint filed against you.
The best possible outcome of a complaint is the Board closing the filing without further action. Depending on the facts of the case, they may recommend a sanction that falls short of formal disciplinary action, such as a warning or a citation and fine. While these may still seem like punishments, these options are far less severe than formal disciplinary action.
If the investigation substantiates the complaint, the Board may file an Accusation, which is akin to an indictment or charging document. The Accusation will set out the facts of the case against the licensee and the basis for disciplinary action. At this point, the options for resolving the case are a stipulated settlement or taking the case to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Potential consequences for any type of disciplinary action can be incredibly serious. If you are facing allegations of professional misconduct or any other violation, you should consult with a skilled San Bernardino healthcare license defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our legal team will work with you to protect your license and livelihood.
The BRN and the BVNPT may investigate complaints about any violation of the Business and Professions Code. This may include:
If the complaint is not substantiated, then the matter may be resolved by closing the file or issuing a citation and fine or warning. However, if the Board decides to file a formal Accusation, then it may result in more serious consequences, such as:
Importantly, both the BVN and the BVNPT recognize that nurses dealing with chemical dependency and/or substance abuse issues may benefit from an intervention program instead of formal discipline. It is important to understand that while agreeing to intervention can be advantageous, it is a very challenging program. A San Bernardino nursing license defense lawyer can help you weigh the pros and cons of participating in an intervention based on your unique situation.
Disciplinary consequences are not a foregone conclusion if a complaint is filed against you. When an experienced San Bernardino nursing license defense attorney gets involved early in the investigation, they can attempt to resolve the issue before an Accusation is filed. They may also be able to negotiate a stipulated settlement that may be more favorable than the discipline that the Board would impose. Your lawyer can also put together a strong defense, including evidence of mitigation, to advocate for you in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Even the most conscientious nurses can make a mistake in their professional or personal lives. If you have been accused of violating your professional responsibilities as a nurse, don’t give up hope. An experienced San Bernardino nursing license defense lawyer will collaborate with you to develop a strong defense and protect your license.
At the Law Offices of Nicole Irmer, we offer knowledgeable, compassionate legal representation to nurses and other healthcare professionals who are facing licensing and/or disciplinary issues. We understand how stressful these cases can be for our clients, and work hard to provide a realistic overview of the process and likely outcomes. Call our office at 619-237-6130 or fill out our online contact form to learn more or to schedule a consultation with a San Bernardino nursing license defense attorney.