Lubbock Nursing License Defense Lawyers
The experience and skills of nurses are much needed in the American health industry, as these medical workers devote their time and efforts to helping save other peoples’ lives, and to maintain their health over time. Unfortunately, sometimes nurses face legal action that threatens the loss of their license to practice. Not only can this potential loss of livelihood be emotionally traumatic; it can also leave a nurse with no way to pay his or her bills or support a family. Fortunately, with the help of a lawyer from the Leichter Law Firm, any nurse in Lubbock in this position can take action to protect themselves and their career.
There are several aspects to nursing license defense, one or more of which might be present in your own case. These include:
- The Disciplinary Process
- Chemical Dependency
- Criminal Conduct
- Standard of Care
- Peer Review Actions
The Texas Board of Nursing , which was formerly known as the Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas and operates under the Texas Nursing Act in the Texas Administrative Code, is the one responsible for regulating Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN), and any designation of an advanced practice nurse, like clinical nurse. The Board has 13 members, 9 of whom are nurses and 4 of whom are public members. As a group, the Board elects an Executive Director, who takes charge of daily tasks of the Board.
The primary purpose of the Board is to protect the public, and to do so it can oversee investigations into accused criminal conduct of nurses in the state of Texas. If the Board finds that a nurse has violated any part of the Texas Nursing Act, it might discipline a nurse, including suspending or revoking a license entirely. Additionally, the Executive Director controls daily operations, which involves things such as license applications processing, policy and procedure development, open records request processing, internal rules and regulations operations, and general management of over 100 employees.
Grounds for Discipline
A nurse might face a disciplinary inquiry or investigation for a number of different accusations regarding his or her behavior. Some of the most common accusations include the following:
- Standard of Care Violations
- Sexual and Personal Boundary Violations
- Fraud, Theft, and Deception
- Chemical Dependency and the Intemperate Use of Drugs and Alcohol
- Lying and Falsification
- Failure to Comply with CE Requirements
- Failure to Pay Licensure Fees in a Timely Manner
- The Commission of a Criminal Offense
- Malpractice Suits and Judgments
- Other Conduct likely to Deceive or Defraud public
Any of these actions could lead to an accusation of criminal misconduct, which could then lead to a criminal investigation at the Board Staff level or beyond.
It is important to know that a nurse that is under investigation will not face the Board directly; he or she will actually encounter the Board Staff. This Staff is made up of individual investigators, an enforcement team, attorneys for the Texas Board of Nursing, advisory lawyers for the Board, and their own attorneys. The only time a person will actually meet with the Board (which is extremely rare) is under two circumstances: the first is if an applicant for a nursing license is allowed to attend an Eligibility and Disciplinary Committee meeting, and the second is if a person facing discipline has already gone through the normal operations of State Office of Administrative Hearings, and now the Board is needed for a deeper consideration of an individual case. Interestingly, every nurse at this level of inquiry is well within his or her rights to appear before the Board, but many fail to do so, often because they are unaware of these rights.
Most typically, there are two kinds of cases that the Board Staff investigates. These include:
- Practice-Related Cases
- Behavioral Cases
Accusations of misconduct involving chemical dependency, criminal history, mental health issues, psychiatric disorders, pain management, required narcotic consumption, or general standard-of-care violations are included in behavioral cases. Whichever of the above accusations a licensed nurse is facing, he or she needs the help of an experienced legal team, to ensure that his or her rights are fully protected. This legal team can also better enable a nurse to face the different levels of inquiry. For instance, in cases that involve the Attorney General, rather than the Board Staff investigators, they entail an entirely different legal procedure. These instances would be those that extend beyond the jurisdiction of the Board Staff, such as appeals, rule creation, declaratory judgments, and District Court administrative writs, and are those that are typically more complex than at the Board Staff legal level.
Investigations are no easy task for the person facing inquiry. The Board Staff legal team prides itself on being tough against accused criminals and can inflict harsh punishments if the inquiry proves to result in a conviction. Unfortunately, due to this, the Board has been known to act wrongly, and even has policies and procedures that could be questionable regarding their legality. Unfortunately, many nursing practitioners facing inquiry are unaware of the legality or illegality of certain procedures, and so are victimized by the Staff’s legal team. This can easily result in conviction and penalties. Some of the penalties you might face include:
- Fine / Administrative Penalty
- Directive to Fulfill Neglected Obligation
- Public Reprimand
- License Restriction or Impositions on Practice
- TPAPN Directive
- Probation of a License Suspension
- Active Suspension as Probation Requirement
- Revocation of License
No one wants to face these penalties, and having a skilled lawyer may be the only way to avoid these penalties.
Contact a Nursing License Defense Lawyer in Lubbock
If you are a practicing nurse and are facing a criminal inquiry and the threat of losing your license, our attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm can help protect your rights and license. Contact our offices in Lubbock today at (512) 495-9995 to learn more about this process and about how we can help you defend your license to practice.