NURSING LICENSE DEFENSE
Dallas Nursing License Defense Attorneys
Nurses are, rightly, highly esteemed for the care they provide others. In fact, millions of doctors and patients depend on this care provided by nurses. It can be especially hard, then, for a nurse to face accusations of misconduct or allegations and charges that question their practices and/or behaviors. Facing such charges can be quite difficult and daunting, especially when it threatens a nurse’s license. Fortunately, in such a situation, there are often numerous options available to a nurse that allows them to protect themselves and potentially their license.
Many different issues can arise in questions of nursing licensing and license defense. Some of these most common, and often complex, issues that nurses facing disciplinary action must deal with include:
- The Disciplinary Process
- Chemical Dependency
- Criminal Conduct
- Standard of Care
- Peer Review Actions
Should a nurse be dealing with these issues, which often can lead to the loss or suspension of a license, he or she will likely find themselves facing the Texas Board of Nursing , the governing authority who handles all nursing license matters, including granting, denying, and disciplining nursing licenses / nursing registrations. The Texas Board of Nursing follows the Nursing Practice Act in its regulations, which mandates nurse behavior and action under the Texas Administrative Code. The Texas Board of Nursing also must follow regulations specified by the Texas Occupations Code, such as Health & Safety Codes.
This governing authority will be looked to when addressing allegations against RN (Registered Nurse), LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse), and Advance Practice Nursing designated people. Its primary goals are to protect the public when it comes to the conduct of nurses, which it does by regulating nursing licenses throughout the state of Texas. Made up of thirteen individual members, nine of whom are nurses and four who are members of the public, the Board is led by an Executive Director who regulates everyday affairs, including evaluating and processing applications for licenses, open records requests, administering regular rules, controlling and developing new policies or procedures for the Board, and general day-to-day tasks that need to be completed.
If a nurse must undergo an investigation into his or her behaviors due to allegations, that nurse will face questioning by Board Staff rather than the Board itself. This Board Staff includes legal investigators, the Texas Board of Nursing legal team, attorneys advising the Board, and any enforcement team. This does not include individual Board members, and an encounter between a Board member and a nurse facing accusations of misconduct will rarely occur. On rare occurrences, however, a nurse facing accusations may be asked to attend a meeting of the Eligibility & Disciplinary Committee or might have a hearing in the State Office of Administrative Hearings. In these cases, sometimes decisions on licensing then go to the Board for discussion and consideration.
All disciplinary actions and guidelines are set down by the Executive Director, his or her Enforcement Division, the division on Nursing Practice, and any legal representatives who the Board Staff employs. In more serious cases, such as those that call for higher action than pure disciplinary measures, the case may go to the Attorney General’s Office for evaluation and decision. These might include appealed decisions, changes to rules and regulations, making declaratory judgments, or administrative writ issues.
Two Types of Cases
The Board Staff, generally speaking, evaluates two types of cases in regard to nurse licensing issues. These two types include:
- Practice Related Cases
- Behavioral Cases
- Chemical Dependency
- Criminal History Related
- Allegations of Mental Health Issues / Psychiatric Disorders
- Pain Management / Required Narcotic Consumption
These cases can involve any number of serious issues and accusations against a nursing practitioner, and the Board Staff will have to evaluate the accusations thoroughly in order to reach a decision about a nurse’s license. Board Staff and The Texas Board of Nursing are known to impose harsh consequences for accused nurses and can be extremely tough in protecting the public. Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which the consequences imposed are questionable or the policies and procedures used questionable; this can negatively affect an innocent nurse who does not deserve to lose his or her license. In fact, one of the most deceptive practices used is making a nurse feel more secure by telling them to simply “cooperate” with the Board Staff and investigators. However, this can lure nurses into falsely implicating themselves.
Common Grounds for Discipline
The Board Staff will evaluate each case in an effort to see if a nurse requires discipline after being accused of misconduct. Some grounds for disciplinary action include:
- Standard of Care Violations
- Sexual & Personal Boundary Violations
- Fraud, Theft & Deception
- Chemical Dependency & the Intemperate Use of Drugs & Alcohol
- Lying & Falsification
- Failure to Comply with CE Requirements
- Failure to Pay Licensure Fees
- The Commission of a Criminal Offense
- Malpractice Suits & Judgments
- Other Conduct Likely to Deceive or Defraud the Public
There are many possible penalties for a nurse who is found guilty of these and other grounds for discipline. Some of these penalties include:
- Administrative Penalty (Fine)
- Directive to Fulfill Neglected Obligation (Specific Performance)
- Public Reprimand
- License Restriction or Impositions on Practice
- TPAPN Directive
- Probation of a License Suspension
- Active Suspension as a Requirement of Probation
In addition to these potential disciplinary actions, a nurse might also be told to undergo counseling services, take additional educational courses, complete additional training, or be restricted in their practice by the Board Staff.
Facing disciplinary actions as penalties for accusations of misconduct can be daunting and difficult to deal with. But the experienced attorneys at the Leichter Law Firm can not only explain all of the potential outcomes of your case, but can also help you fight to keep your license and avoid the harsh penalties you fear. If you need legal advice or assistance, call 512-495-9995 today.