Temporary Suspension Hearing
The Nursing Practice Act permits a three-member panel of the Texas Board of Nursing to temporarily suspend or restrict a nurse’s license if the licensee’s continued practice would constitute a continuing and imminent threat to the public welfare. The Board is not required to give notice to the nurse prior to temporarily suspending their license. However, the Texas Nursing Board is required to simultaneously set the case for a hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) and ensure the hearing occurs as soon as possible and no later than seventeen days following the order of temporary suspension. At SOAH, an independent Administrative Law Judge will decide whether there is probable cause that the nurse poses a continuing and imminent threat and enter an order either continuing or terminating the temporary suspension. Moreover, a final hearing on the merits of the underlying allegation must occur within sixty-one days after the date of the original temporary suspension.
When facing a temporary license suspension and hearing, you need a highly skilled Texas nursing license defense attorney of the Leichter Law Firm supporting you. Contact our offices at 512-495-9995 today to speak with us.
At SOAH, the licensee and their attorney are permitted to submit evidence and testimony rebutting the Texas Board of Nursing’s assertion that the nurse’s ongoing practice imperils the public. An attorney for the Board will likewise present their own case. The judge will apply the Texas Rules of Evidence, but usually will allow evidence and testimony that would not come in at a final hearing on the merits. After the judge enters an order either continuing or terminating the temporary suspension, a final hearing will be scheduled within the sixty-one day deadline prescribed by the Nursing Practice Act.
The most common cases scheduled by the Texas Board of Nursing for a temporary suspension hearing are those involving allegations of serious practice-related criminal behavior, assaults or sexual misconduct with patients, and testing positive for prohibited substances while on a Board Order. The latter is the most common grounds for temporary suspension. In fact, there is a separate temporary suspension statute dedicated to this issue. Under the statute, the Texas Board of Nursing need only establish that the nurse tested positive, refused to submit to a required screen, or failed to participate in TPAPN as ordered by the Board, in order for a continuing and imminent threat to the public to be established.
A temporary suspension can be catastrophic to a nurse as it immediately removes them from work and will likely cost them their job. An experienced nursing defense attorney can quickly assess the nurse’s case and determine whether it will be likely to proceed to the preliminary or final hearing at SOAH. In many cases it is possible to achieve a negotiated settlement without the need for trial.
Any nurse who has received a temporary suspension notice from the Texas Board of Nursing should immediately contact a nursing defense attorney. The restricted hearing dates provide little time to adequately prepare and most licensees are unaware of what kind of evidence and witnesses they will need to obtain a successful ruling at SOAH or effectively negotiate a settlement. Our Texas nursing license defense attorneys at the Leichter Law Firm have successfully tried temporary suspension hearings before the Texas Board of Nursing, Texas Medical Board, and Texas State Board of Pharmacy. Our lawyers have the experience necessary to guide both you and your case through this high stakes situation and possibly protect your license. Call 512-495-9995 today to speak with us about your case.