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Nurses of all types are required to become licensed to work legally in California. Following the extensive education they receive to become a licensed nurse, nurses are required to take an oath with the state promising to uphold the law and the ethical issues at hand when they work in the medical field. When a nurse is accused of breaking the law, he or she is held responsible by the state. Any official complaint filed against a nurse is vetted and investigated to substantiate claims made by accusers. If a nurse is found guilty of breaking any laws or ethical oath they’ve taken, they could lose their license for a long period of time or forever.
Anyone can lose their nursing license for several offenses in California. Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone, and it can happen for any number of reasons. If a nurse is being investigated by the state for their behavior working with patients in or in the medical field, it might not be their fault. A nursing license defense attorney can help nurses under investigation for improper practices keep their license by proving that the incident either never happened or it was unknown to the nurse in question.
Reasons Behind Nursing Investigations
Nurses work closely with medical patients on a daily basis. They are responsible for any number of duties performed throughout the day to assist doctors in caring for patients, from taking their vital statistics to issuing medication when a patient is in need. During that time, anything can happen. Patients are not supervised every moment by nurses, and things go wrong. The most common reasons nurses are investigated and at risk of losing their professional licenses includes the following:
– Improper medical care
– Providing improper services
– Sexual misconduct
– Substance abuse
A patient who was given the wrong medication and ends up in the hospital because of the mistake can file a formal complaint against the nurse who issued the medication. If the paperwork for the patient was mixed up with another because a doctor failed to put it in the right folder or an administrative assistant mixed up information when typing it up following a previous appointment, this is no fault of the nurse. However, it’s nearly impossible to prove this without legal assistance.
Sometimes an investigation occurs following an incident when a doctor asks a nurse to do something they are not comfortable doing but fear for their job. When notification of an investigation of this nature takes place, any good nurse attorney will advise their client to speak to no one about the incident. The attorney wants nurses to come directly to their offices and discuss things in person before issuing any response or discussing the investigation with anyone.
Any nurse found guilty of breaking the law is held accountable for their actions. If the board’s investigation finds the nurse guilty, they impose their own form of discipline according to the terms of the law and the law broken. A formal hearing is held, and the board comes up with a conclusion. If the offense is bad enough, it is then taken to a state court or even a federal court if it’s found necessary.
The board can take several actions against a nurse if he or she is found guilty:
– Suspension of license
– Revocation of license
– Letter of reprimand
– Letter of admonishment for the record
– Imposition of a fine or restitution
If the offense is taken to a state or federal level, the nurse could see additional fines and/or jail time imposed. It’s not likely the nurse will see a case go this far unless their actions resulted in the death of a patient or some sort of medical fraud. An experienced attorney with years of practice helping nurses keep their licenses when an investigation occurs can help any nurse throughout the process. If the attorney can’t help the nurse find a way to overcome the accusations, they can help the nurse reduce charges and penalties, and reinstate their license when disciplinary actions have ended and it’s that time.