Nursing can be an extremely rewarding and humanistic career path. It is also a challenging field that requires a lot of time and dedication. In addition to working long hours, nurses must comply with licensure requirements imposed by the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).
California law states that if a nurse violates the law while operating in an official capacity, they could be subject to disciplinary action. If the BRN finds the nurse guilty of one or more violations, they could be fined or have their license suspended or revoked. Sadly, the nurse could completely lose the ability to practice medicine.
Because there is so much to lose in these situations, many nurses facing disciplinary hearings that could result in the suspension of their license choose to hire a nursing license defense lawyer to assist with their defense and advocate on their behalf.
When a nurse violates the Nursing Practice Act, they could face discipline from the BRN. The BRN will evaluate the nature of the conduct in question against aspects of the nurse’s background, including attempts at corrective behavior, to arrive at their decision. Historically, the BRN has been known to take the following actions:
- Public reprimand
- License suspension
- License revocation
This period is when a lawyer can provide a lot of guidance. In addition to advocating on the nurse’s behalf during the hearing, they can work to have the suspension or revocation stayed.
If the nurse and their lawyer managed to get the suspension or revocation stayed, the nurse will be able to continue practicing medicine under specific restrictions.
Once the nurse completes this probationary period to the BRN’s satisfaction, the order will be lifted, and they can resume practicing medicine. Conversely, if the nurse commits another violation during their probationary period, they could face further disciplinary action, including the imposition of their original punishment.
What Violations Result in Probation?
The BRN will likely order probation in the following instances:
- Gross negligence that directly endangers the life of a patient
- Mental impairment that impacts their ability to do their job
- Failure to meet accepted standards of care
- Practicing without a license
- Unethical conduct
- Substance abuse
Additionally, a nurse could be disciplined if they receive a misdemeanor or felony conviction related to their capacity as a nurse.
What Is the Process Like?
After receiving the initial complaint, the Department of Consumer Affairs will begin an investigation. Upon concluding their investigation, they will inform the BRN of their findings. From there, the BRN will decide whether to proceed with a formal charge, known as an accusation.
After the accusation is filed, the parties involved will have the opportunity to reach a settlement. If none can be reached, there will likely be an administrative hearing.
At this point, it is up to an administrative judge to issue a ruling, including disciplinary measures. If the nurse finds that their license might be suspended or revoked, probation might be a more reasonable alternative.
Need a Nursing License Defense Lawyer? Contact S J Harris Law
If you are facing an accusation and need a nursing license defense lawyer, contact S J Harris Law today.