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It is said that doctors treat diseases, while nurses treat patients. This means that nurses make a significant difference in the life of those they cater to. While they have a passion for serving, nurses often work under high pressure and demanding conditions. They are mostly overworked and understaffed. These situations expose them to many litigation issues that can be filed by anyone. If you are a nurse facing an allegation of negligence or any form of misconduct, you will need a sound legal defense. Lawyers for nurses work to help nurses on a myriad of litigation issues. As a nurse, you need to be informed on what to expect.
Complaint and Disciplinary process
When the board notices an irregularity in your application, or if they receive a complaint, they are expected to send you a notice in writing within ten days. The board then proceeds to make an inquiry about the complaint or anomaly. The board will assign a consultant who works with the Department of Justice to look into the matter. If they find that the allegations are without merit, then the investigations are closed immediately. However, if the team of investigators can substantiate the claims, disciplinary action follows.
The investigator contacts a nurse under investigation. The nurse is expected to sign authorization forms that allow the investigator access to their employment and personal records. In most cases, the nurse is also interviewed in person. Once the investigation is complete, the investigator reports back to the board with the findings. The board then decides on the appropriate disciplinary action.
Some of the disciplinary actions that can be taken include fines, license revocation, and license suspension. If the matters touch on a criminal offense, the board forwards the matter to the office of the district attorney.
Course of action
Often, nurses make the mistake of speaking with complainants, investigators, witnesses and the board, before seeking legal counsel. The first person that you should speak to when you receive the complaint letter is an experienced nurse attorney. You need immediate advice to avoid incriminating yourself. Even when the investigator seems friendly, it is still ill-advised to talk to him without the presence of your legal counsel. It is important to ensure that licensing boards primarily exist to serve the interests of the public. Statements that are made before seeking legal advice can have far reaching consequences, even in a simple and straightforward case.
The need for legal aid
The disciplinary and complaint process can be grilling and daunting. This is especially the case if it is your first time facing the board. A nursing career has huge time and financial implications. It is, therefore, imperative that you do not put all your hard work into jeopardy. Ensure that you get good representation that will defend your interests. Familiarity and experience with the disciplinary process are key to obtaining a favorable outcome. With good representation, many nurses have walked out of board hearings unscathed and have proceeded with their careers.